Up until recently, when it came to choosing a pellet grill, your criteria were pretty simple. What size of pellet grill/smoker were you looking for, and does the controller feature any external meat probe ports? However, as the popularity of wood pellet grills has started to expand considerably in recent years many pellet grill manufacturers are trying to update and differentiate their products from the competition. One of the most significant upgrades found on new pellet grills is WiFi functionality, so you can control the pellet grill from your phone.
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There are more and more pellet grill manufacturers who are starting to add WiFi.
However, as Traeger and Camp Chef are currently two of the most popular pellet grill brands, I thought this was a good place to start when comparing pellet grill controllers with WiFi/App features.
Introduction to Traeger WiFire vs Camp Chef Connect
Wood pellet grills, when compared to gas/propane grills, are much more suited to long and slow cooks.
Furthermore, pellet grills make excellent smokers, which, again, is typically a long and slow process to produce the best results.
Therefore, pellet grills are often left for several hours, even overnight, to cook/smoke a brisket for instance and produce some of the best food you will ever taste.
However, during the cooking/smoking process, you will want to monitor the temperature inside the grill and the meat’s internal temperature.
During different stages of the cooking/smoking process, you will also need to adjust the temperature.
Well, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to monitor and adjust the whole process from your phone, so you don’t have to keep going over to the pellet grill?
Of course it would, hence some Traeger models now could with WiFire integration and some Camp Chef pellet grills come with Camp Chef Connect functionality.
Before I compare these two WiFi/App features, I want to discuss the features and capabilities of each one.
Traeger WiFire Features & Capabilities
Essentially, if you purchase a Traeger pellet grill with a D2 control panel it features a WiFi connection and the pellet grill can be monitored and adjusted through the WiFire app.
As you can see from the video above, Traeger WiFire comes with lots of recipes within the app itself (GrillGuide).
Along with text/image instructions, Traeger has recently started to also include video instructions for cooking/smoking some foods. You have the option of selecting a recipe and then clicking ‘cook now’ on the app.
Those instructions for grill temperatures/cook times will then be downloaded to the Traeger pellet grill.
You then follow the on-screen instructions, and you will be sent push notifications to your phone at different stages during the cook when the temperature changes etc.
However, you do not have to use the Traeger WiFire app only with the pre-installed recipe settings. You can manually set the desired temperature of the grill and timers.
The app will display your desired set temperature along with the current temperature of the pellet grill. If you have a probe connected, it will also display the internal temperature of the meat.
The D2 Controller fitted to the Timberline, Ironwood, and Pro Series grills have a single meat probe connection.
Traeger D2 Controller/WiFire Differences
It should be noted there are differences between the D2 controller fitted to the Traeger Pro Series and the D2 controller fitted to the Ironwood and Timberline grills.
Though all of these pellet grills do benefit from D2 Direct Drive.
Specifically, the Ironwood and Timberline grills benefit from ‘Super Smoke’ and ‘Keep Warm’ modes. These features also translate over to the WiFire App.
Hence, the WiFire functionality with the Pro Series grills isn’t quite as broad as it is with the Ironwood and Timberline.
Camp Chef Connect Features and Capabilities
Camp Chefs app for controlling their grills, which features WiFi integration, is called Camp Chef Connect.
The Gen 2 WiFi controller is fitted to some SmokePro pellet grills.
However, importantly, the Gen 2 WiFi controllers can be retrofitted to older SmokePro pellet grills and first-generation Woodwind pellet grills, which do not feature the current full-colour WiFi control panel.
The video below from Camp Chef shows the Woodwind controller while demonstrating Camp Chef Connect. However, Camp Chef Connect can now also be used with the Gen 2 WiFi Controller.
Within the Camp Chef Connect app, you can monitor the current temperature of the grill and set your chosen temperature.
The temperature can be adjusted in 5-degree increments up to the maximum temperature of 500 degrees.
Within the Connect app, you can also give each meat probe sensor a specific name and give each one a ‘Goal Temp’.
Once each meat probe sensor has reached its goal temp, the Connect app will display a notification message on your phone.
Just to quickly note, the Woodwind WiFi controller has 4 meat probe ports, whereas the Gen 2 WiFi controller features just 2 meat probe ports.
Within the Camp Chef Connect app, along with setting your desired cooking temperature, you have a separate smoke setting with a range of 1-10, with 10 providing the most smoke.
It should be noted that with the higher smoke setting, the more the cooking temperature of the pellet grill will fluctuate around the set cooking temperature.
Not by a lot, but its worth noting. The video below explains more:
Traeger WiFire vs CampChef Connect
So above, I’ve discussed the features of both of the WiFi/App systems installed on Traeger and Camp Chef pellet grills.
Now, we are going to discuss the differences between them. This is not intended to be a conclusive discussion on which WiFi/App system is best for a couple of reasons.
First, as stated above, these WiFi/App systems are constantly being updated with new features etc. Therefore, this is just an analysis of the features/differences at this point in time.
Secondly, which features are more important to me may be less significant/important to you. Now that’s cleared up, let’s look at the differences between them.
App Recipes/Downloadable Pellet Grill Settings – Win Traeger (Could Change)
Currently, only the Traeger WiFire app has recipes in both text/images and video within their smartphone app. Camp Chef Connect doesnt currently include recipes with downloadable settings to the grill.
However, as stated above, this is something that Camp Chef could add to their app in the future.
For the BBQ beginner though, who doesnt have their favourite recipes for chicken, ribs, brisket etc memorised and ready to manually set up the pellet grill the Traeger WiFire app does provide ease of use/convenience.
Meat Probe Monitoring – Win Camp Chef
Now, this is a hardware point as well as a software point. The Traeger D2 controllers only feature one meat probe connection.
Whereas the Camp Chef WiFi-enabled control panels have either two or four meat probe connections.
I did find Traeger’s decision to only include one meat probe connection on the D2 control panels a little odd, as the old generation Pro Series controller had two meat probe connections.
Now unless Traeger introduces a separate meat probe monitor which could link up to the D2 controller via WiFi, this is a win for Camp Chef.
The problem is a separate meat probe monitor would not be hardwired into the controller, so would require its own battery, and remembering to charge that battery etc.
Pellet Level Monitoring – Win Traeger
Included with the Traeger Timberline pellet grills is a pellet sensor, which uses an optical sensor to see what percentage of pellets remain in the hopper until its empty.
The Ironwood and second-generation Pro Series do not come with a pellet sensor. However, they do have the same/similar D2 WiFi controller.
Therefore, you can purchase the Traeger pellet sensor as a retrofit for Ironwood or Pro Series pellet grills.
With the WiFire app, you can then see the level of pellets drop by 5% at a time. However, as I stated in my post on the Traeger pellet sensor linked above, don’t expect it to be that accurate.
Its better just to pay attention when the level of pellets reaches important points such as 75%, 50% or 25% remaining.
With the Traeger Pellet Sensor Ironwood and Pro Series pellet grills can be upgraded to send live pellet level information to the WiFire app: Image – Amazon.com
Unfortunately, the Camp Chef range of pellet grills with either the Woodwind WiFi controller or the Gen 2 WiFi controller doesn’t have this feature.
Hence, its a similar issue to the meat probe sensors discussed above, this is hardware, not just software.
Camp Chef could offer a WiFi pellet sensor that could connect to the WiFi controller to send pellet-level data to the Connect app.
However, as it wouldn’t be hardwired, it would need a battery. Therefore, you would have to remember to charge it up. Hence, if pellet level monitoring is a feature you really want, this one is a win for Traeger.
Smoke Settings and Adjustment – Win Camp Chef
Traeger pellet grills can produce smoke, and all Traeger models will produce some level of smoke in the 165 to 300 degree range.
With the Traeger Ironwood and Timberline models, the D2 controller and therefore, the WiFire app all offer ‘Super Smoke’.
With Super Smoke, the controller will fluctuate and drop the fan speed down, so the pellets smoulder and produce more smoke. However, Super Smoke mode only operates in the 165 to 225 temperature range.
All Camp Chef WiFi/Connect-enabled controllers, on the other hand, offer a smoke setting range between 1-10. Importantly you can set the smoke setting completely independent of the cooking temperature.
So if you want a high temp cook, above say 300 degrees with lots of smoke (smoke setting 10), you can do that.
However, as noted in the Camp Chef video above detailing how a PID controller works in the higher smoke setting, the actual temperature will fluctuate more around the set ‘goal’ temperature.
Though the general point remains, with the Camp Chef Connect app you have more control over smoke settings than you currently do with Traeger WiFire.
However, both Traeger and Camp Chef WiFi panels are PID controllers. Therefore, Traeger may update the app/smoke control setting in the future.
Conclusions On Traeger WiFire vs Camp Chef Connect
As you can see by my comments above, in my opinion, when comparing the two WiFi systems/apps in a face-off they are currently two for two.
The Traeger WiFire app excels with convenience with the built-in app recipes, downloadable settings and pellet sensor monitoring.
The Camp Chef Connect app excels with the ability to monitor more external meat probes and a wider selection of smoke settings over a wider temperature range.
Whichever of the two options you interpret to be the ‘best’ will depend on what you are looking for from a pellet grill.
For instance, what meat, fish or vegetables do you want to cook and how far away from the grill will usually be while cooking/smoking it?
That’s it! Thanks for reading, if you are in the market for a new pellet grill and you are trying to decide if you want a Traeger or a Camp Chef pellet grill and wanted to know the differences between their WiFi capabilities, I hope this post helped.
I have a Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide if you would like to learn more.
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