When it comes to BBQ grills and smokers there is no bigger name than Weber (here’s proof). However, Weber has only relatively recently entered the pellet grill game with their SmokeFire pellet grill range. RECTEQ, on the other hand, have been producing pellet grills/smokers since 2008. So how do the pellet grill offerings from Weber and RECTEQ (formally REC TEC) compare? Well, when I’ve done previous comparison articles such a Traeger vs REC TEC there are multiple models from each brand to compare. This is article is like my Pit Boss vs Weber article where we are purely comparing just two models as Weber only currently produces just one wood pellet grill/smoker specification.
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Now, as you will see from the below, at this point in time I think its an easy win for RECTEQ in a comparison against Weber which may surprise you. Weber makes excellent gas and charcoal grills, however, their transition to making wood pellet grills has not gone too smoothly for the reasons you will learn below. I do think the Weber SmokeFire pellet grill range needs a resign to address some issues, but once that’s done I think they could have a very competitive pellet grill on their hands.
Introduction To Weber vs RECTEQ Pellet Grills/Smokers
So the two specific models I want to compare are the Weber SmokerFire EX6 and the RECTEQ RT-700. Currently as of writing this article both of these pellet grills are retailing for $1,199. Now, the retail price on the Weber EX6 did start off at $1,399. However, its been priced at $1,199 for a while now, and I expect that to remain the case. Therefore, as these two pellet grills occupy the same price point, they are well suited for a direct comparison. Though it should be noted, RECTEQ also produces pellet grills/smokers larger and smaller, above and below this price point. Weber also produces a smaller EX4 which essentially has the same features as the EX6.
Which Pellet Grill Provides The Largest Cooking Area?
If we start with the Weber EX6 its marketed as providing 1,008 square inches of cooking area. However, you always need to take these figures in context. You see that figure is not the main grilling area, that’s produced from adding up the area of the main cooking grate and secondary upper cooking rack. Though remember, anything other than the main cooking grate is only suitable for lower temperature cooking, not grilling. So the reality is, the main grilling area on the EX6 is 648 square inches, with the secondary cooking rack providing an additional 360 squares for a total of 1,008.
The RECTEQ RT-700, on the other hand, has a main grilling area of 702 square inches. Hence, its model number reflects the main cooking grate. With an optional second shelf, the total cooking area can be upgraded to 1054 square inches. This is a classic example of why its important to look into specifics on any grill and not just read the marketing numbers. As on first impressions, you may think the Weber EX6 provides a larger cooking area. Whereas you can now see, the opposite is actually true and its the RECTEQ which provides the larger cooking area for both high-temperature grilling and ‘going low and slow’. Though it should be noted, on the RECTEQ the upper cooking rack is an optional accessory.
How Do They Compare On Temperature Control/Range and WiFi?
Both the Weber EX6 and RECTEQ RT-700 use a modern PID control panel for accurate temperature control with 5 degrees of the set temperature. It also means that both pellet grills are better suited than non-PID control panels to adapt to changing weather conditions such as cooking in windy winter conditions. In terms of insulation, the Weber does have some twin-wall construction on the sides, but the rest of the cooking chamber is not insulated. The RECTEQ is single wall all over, hence for cooking in cold weather both of these pellet grills would benefit from an insulated blanket. But what about temperature range and maximum temperatures? Which of these pellet grills can get the hottest?
Well, the Weber EX6 has a temperature range of 200-600 degrees. That 600-degree maximum temperature setting is a feature Weber is trying to market hard with this pellet grill. They obviously have been looking at Traeger’s efforts with the Pro Series and Ironwood around this price point which max out at 500 degrees and thought they needed their pellet grill to exceed that temperature. So how does the RECTEQ RT-700 compare? Well, on first glances it would appear its not as capable as the Weber stating a temperature range of 200-500 degrees. However, the RECTEQ also has a ‘FULL’ setting which RECTEQ state ‘allows you to achieve temperatures above 500 degrees’. On the owner’s forums, it appears the RECTEQ on the FULL setting can also get up to around 600 degrees.
Both of these pellet grills have WiFi built-in which some people see as a key reason to purchase a particular pellet grill while others see it as an unnecessary feature which adds costs to a grill. I can appreciate the arguments on both sides. However, my general thoughts are this. Most people who have over $1,000 to spend on a grill often have more spare income than time. Hence, a feature such as WiFi which means they can leave the grill to get on with a cook while they go down the shops etc does have real benefits. I’m aware that Weber had some technical gremlins to deal with on the WiFi front when they first launched the SmokeFire range. However, I believe its the case that most of those issues have now been fixed.
Direct-Flame Access – It Comes With Pros and Cons
Some pellet grills provide direct-flame access, the Weber SmokeFire EX6 being an example. Now, the RECTEQ RT-700 does not offer direct-flame access. Providing direct access to the flames of the pellet fire is associated with higher cooking grate surface temperatures typically around 650 degrees. So you may understandably think this is a one up for the Weber EX6?! Well, maybe, may not. The problem is, the way Weber is dealing with grease removal on the EX6 I don’t believe is well designed as I discuss in my when to clean a pellet grill article. There are quite a few reports now of users experiencing grease fires/flare-ups in the base of the Weber EX6 (and smaller EX4).
Now, if you don’t frequently cook large fatty cuts of meat (brisket/pork belly or butt) you would probably never experience this grease fire issue. Likewise, if you were frequently cleaning out the base of the pellet grill. However, doing long ‘low and slow’ cooks of such meats is a speciality of pellet grills and one of their strong points I discuss in my pellet vs electric, pellet vs kamado and pellet vs gas grill articles. Therefore, until Weber redesign how the grease is collected on their SmokeFire pellet grills I think its something any potential buyer needs to be aware of.
Both Have Rear Pellet Hoppers But With Different Designs
Ok, so let’s discuss their pellet hoppers, though I’m not particularly concerned with how much each hopper holds. As I’ve discussed in the part in my article on pellet usage, really any hopper which can hold close to 20lbs will provide between 15-20 hours of low and slow smoking, hence overnight cooking which should be sufficient for anyone. Furthermore, you don’t really want a massive hopper, as in many cases its not good to leave pellets in the hopper over an extended period of time. The Weber EX6 can hold 22 lbs of pellets in its hopper, whereas the RECTEQ RT-700 holds a massive 40lbs. But really, its the design of the hoppers I think you should pay attention too.
The interesting thing (for me anyway) is both of these pellet grills feature a rear-mounted hopper. Your typical pellet grill is going to have a side-mounted hopper. However, as both of these pellet grills feature a centrally located burn pot they have chosen a rear-mounted hopper design. Many people actually prefer a rear-mounted hopper as they feel it makes the grill look neater, and gives it a similar appearance to a gas grill. Now when designing a hopper you have to be really careful. Why? Well, while pellets flow similar to liquids, they are not a liquid. Hence, if the sides of the hopper are too shallow you can get what’s called ‘bridging’, where the pellets stop falling down through the hopper into the auger below and create a bridge.
Now if you look at the image above of the RECTEQ rear-mounted hopper you will see both sides of the hopper have the same sloping angle down into the feed auger which are reasonably steep for a pellet hopper. Hence, you’re unlikely to get any bridging issues, and I’ve not read about any issues with this hopper design either. However, on the Weber, the auger is not centrally located in the base of the hopper. Hence, one side has almost a vertical slope into the auger whereas the other side is very shallow. There are reports of users experiencing issues with pellet bridging, especially with the EX6 over the EX4 as it has a larger hopper with a more shallow slope within the hopper toward the auger.
Which Pellet Grill Uses More Stainless Steel?
So if you weren’t already aware, when looking for a pellet grill you always want to pay attention to which brand (if any) is using stainless steel within your budget and where are they using it? For instance, on the really cheap pellet grills below $500, you may find the odd stainless steel lid, but that’s about it. Take that budget up to $1,000 and smaller REC TEQ grills have stainless steel cooking chambers and you also have Grilla Grills with lots of internal stainless steel components. So what about this Weber EX6 and the RECTEQ RT-700?
Well, the Weber does feature a bit of stainless steel around the handles, side shelf and a few internal components. While the cooking racks in the Weber may look stainless, they are actually plated steel. The RECTEQ RT-700, on the other hand, features a stainless steel cooking chamber and full stainless steel internals, which at the price point is surprising and unmatched currently. I have a separate article on stainless steel pellet grills as well which discusses the different grades of stainless steel used in grills.
Conclusions On Weber vs RECTEQ Pellet Grills/Smokers
So what are my final thoughts on the Weber SmokeFire EX6 vs the RECTEQ RT-700? Well really as I discussed at the start of this article. With the current design of the Weber SmokeFire EX6 its hard to recommend it over the RECTEQ RT-700. When you consider the issues discussed above with the grease collection system and hopper design it falls short of the RECTEQ in key areas. Furthermore, the extensive use of stainless steel on the RECTEQ is a really good feature, especially for this price point. RECTEQ also offers a superior pellet grill warranty. Hopefully, Weber takes on board feedback from the current owners of the EX6 and comes back with a greatly improved pellet grill, then it will be interesting to see how it compares against the competition.
That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope you found this comparison of Weber and RECTEQ pellet grills interesting/informative. Remember, these are just two potential pellet grill brands to choose from. Please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide where I have many more articles on pretty much all the most popular pellet grills/smokers 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.