If you are like me and you have spent a lot of time reviewing and comparing the various pellet grills/smokers on the market today you may have come across ZGrills and Grilla Grills. As soon as you have seen both brands of pellet grills you will quickly notice two specific models have a very similar appearance, namely the ZGrills 700 series and the Grilla Grills Silverbac. So what’s the story here? Are these two pellet grills just clones of each other? The answer is no, they’re not. While they share the same general appearance their materials, construction and price point are different.
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To get right to it, put in the simplest terms the Grilla Grills Silverbac is made from higher quality/thicker materials than the ZGrills 700 series. Furthermore, Grilla Grills are using a more advanced control panel that can offer more precise temperature control. However, I think its important to point out these two pellet grill brands are not in direct competition.
ZGrills are aiming for the ‘value proposition’, which simply means they aiming to offer the most affordable pellet grills on the market. Whereas Grilla Grills are aiming for a higher quality product that’s still affordable for most people. However, Grilla Grills do cost several hundred dollars more than ZGrill pellet grills.
Comparing ZGrills to Grilla Grills – How Do They Differ?
So on the face of it the ZGrills 700 series and the Grilla Grills Silverbac definitely look very similar. The style and design of the cooking barrel and the cabinet appear almost identical. Furthermore, the angular design of the chimney stack and the flared sides of the pellet hopper all appear to be the same. However, if you look carefully at the two images above you start to notice a few differences.
First, they are using a different control panel, this is a big difference which I’ll get to later. Secondly, you should be able to notice a difference in the appearance of the lid. While they are both stainless steel, they are not built to the same quality. On the subject of stainless steel, compare the internals of the ZGrill and Grilla Grill, you should notice the internals of the Grilla Grill definitely look a bit shinner (hence they’re stainless steel).
When I started to write this post I actually came across a video made by Mark Graham who is the Engineering Sales Manager at Grilla Grills. The comparison people are making between the ZGrills 700 and Grilla Grills Silverbac is obviously a question they have been getting quite a bit.
So as you can see from the video above, there are quite a few notable differences between these two pellet grills, and I’ll quickly run through them below. Again, I just want to emphasize, this is article is not to ‘put you off’ a ZGrill, its simply an informational article so you know what your actually buying.
As stated above, the Grilla Grill is several hundred dollars more than the ZGrill. So you have to weigh up your budget and the differences between these two grills to make the right decision for you.
Grilla Grills Increased Use Of Stainless Steel
As Mark discusses in the video above, the firepot, heat deflector and grease tray in the Grilla Grills Silverbac are all made from stainless steel, where that’s not the case in the ZGrill 700 series pellet grills. Furthermore, the cooking racks on the Silverbac are also made from stainless steel, which is not the case on the ZGrill. The cooking racks on the ZGrill 700 series are carbon steel with a porcelain coating.
As Mark references in the video above, ‘cooking racks are often the first thing to go’. This is generally true with grills where carbon steel racks come into contact with direct heat, in other words, the flames from the fire below. In the case of the ZGrill pellet grills, they do not offer direct heat from the flames, therefore the cooking racks on the ZGrill will likely last longer than a typical charcoal grill for instance.
However, another advantage of the stainless steel racks on the Grilla Grills Silverbac is they will be easier to clean. While I’m discussing cooking racks, both the ZGrills and Grilla Grills pellet grills can benefit from a set of aluminium GrillGrates.
I do believe the lid on the Grilla Grills Silverbac is a notable upgrade over the ZGrills 700 series. Not only is the lid on the Silvebac made from a thicker gauge of stainless steel, but its also reinforced. If you look closely at the image above you will see an additional strip of stainless steel on the side of the lid. The lid is only supported by the two hinges above, overtime after using the grill on several occasions heat will try and deform it.
What the side reinforcements will do is keep the lid to its original shape, resisting deformations caused by the lid getting hot during use and then cooling. The ZGrill lid is made from a thinner grade of stainless steel and without that reinforcing may, over time, deform and not fit quite as well to create a seal to keep the heat and smoke in the grill during a cook.
Comparing The ZGrills/Grilla Grills Temperature Control Panels
The other main difference between the ZGrills and Grilla Grills pellet grills is the control panels they are using. There are two main types of control panels used on pellet grills today. I cover this in my post on how to pick the best pellet grill to meet your needs/budget. Essentially there are time/pause based control panels and PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) control panels.
The dial control panel currently used on several ZGrill pellet grills: Image – Amazon
In the simplest terms, a time-based controller will turn the pellet feed auger/fan on and off for set periods of time to achieve a set temperature. This results in a temperature accuracy of around 25 degrees from the set temperature. A PID control panel is constantly monitoring the actual temperature in the grill and the set temperature, constantly adjusting the pellet feed rate and fan speed. Therefore, a PID control panel can achieve a temperature accuracy within 5 degrees of the set temperature.
ZGrills still fit time-based controllers on their pellet grills, similar in design to the previous generation Traeger Pro Series control panels. Though, there are some Z Grills PID pellet grills now available. The Grilla Grilla Silverbac comes with the option of their Pro (time-based) controller or their Alpha (time-based and PID) control panel. You may be wondering why would Grilla Grills still include a time-based mode in their latest control panel?
Well, while PID can achieve and maintain a more accurate temperature it can end up producing less smoke. Why? Well, precisely controlling the fuel and air mixture creates more efficient combustion, but with more efficient combustion you get less smoke. So if you want more smoke (but less accurate temperature control) time-based controllers can actually perform better in some cases.
Conclusions on ZGrills vs Grilla Grills Pellet Grills/Smokers
So what have we learnt from the video above and comparing the ZGrill 700 series and the Grilla Grills Silverbac? Well, they definitely do have a very similar overall design. Grilla Grills used to be made in the USA, but to make their pellet grills/smokers more affordable they outsourced some of the manufacturing. I’m not sure if the same factory is making both ZGrills and Grilla Grills, but its a possibility.
Even if the same factory is making the two pellet grills above, what should be clear is they are not being made to the same specifications. The Grilla Grill Silverbac is a superior product. However, it is also more expensive, roughly several hundred dollars more. Therefore, you have to decide if you can afford that several hundred dollar investment and if you feel the increased durability and more precise temperature control has value to you.
That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope you found this comparison/analysis of the ZGrills 700 series vs the Grilla Grills Silverbac interesting/informative. Both of these pellet grills are worth considering, and you can order either directly from ZGrills.com or GrillaGrills.com. You may also want to check out my article on Traeger vs Z Grills or Traeger vs Grilla Grills. If you would like to spend more time researching your options please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. 🙂
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.