Traeger and Pit Boss are two grill manufacturers with plenty of experience in the field and interesting backgrounds to consider. Traeger’s founder created the first pellet grill back in 1985. Today, it is one of the largest pellet grill manufacturers and sells millions of dollars-worth of grills each year.
Pit Boss was one of Traeger’s first competitors and was founded back in 1999. The company offers quality pellet grills at affordable prices, so it’s pretty clear why these two brands are in such a tight competition. Today, we are going to look at two of their best-sellers in a side-by-side comparison that will show us what each has to offer, and which one is best: the Pit Boss (also known as the Pit Boss Sportsman) or the Traeger Pro 757.
PIT BOSS Wood Pellet Grill – 8-in-1 versatility to grill, smoke, roast, bake, braise, barbecue, char-grill, and sear
Traeger Pro 575 Wood Pellet Grill – Grill, smoke & monitor your Traeger Pro wirelessly using the Traeger smartphone app, Google Home or Amazon Alexa!
History of the Brands
One of the most interesting backstories to a grill manufacturer, Traeger was founded by a man named Joe Traeger back in the mid nineties in Oregon. He toyed around with conventional wood burning stoves until he came up with the idea of a pellet grill. When the patent expired in 2006, other brands jumped on the opportunity and came out with their own pellet grills. Hence, Pit Boss
One of Traeger’s very first competitors, Pit Boss was created by its mother company Dansons Inc. They launched a pellet grill in 1999, spearheaded by Dan Thiessan. It originates in Alberta, Canada, and caters to worldwide consumers.
|Features||Pit Boss Sportsman 820||Traeger Pro 575|
|Dimensions||58 x 32 x 52 inches||53x41x27 inches|
|Hopper capacity||21 lb||18 lb|
|Size of cooking surface (sq in)||849sqin||575sqin|
|Range of temperature||180°F – 500°F||165°F-500°F|
|Controls||Dial-in digital control with LED read-out||D2® drivetrain|
|Pellet purge system||Yes||Yes|
|Warranty||5 years||3 years|
- Amazing heat control
- Can choose different flavors
- Food more evenly cooked
- No flare ups
- A grill and smoker all in one
- Can’t get pellets wet
- Must store in dry place
- Cost of pellets can be a bit much
- Not very portable
There are plenty of things that stand out when it comes to the Pit Boss 820 Sportsman, starting with stat sturdy steel construction. The hopper is designed with a window that allows you to monitor pellet levels, so you’ll always know where you stand pellet-wise. There is also a safety grate included which prevents shoving your hands down the auger. It can be removed, which makes it easy when having to clean the hopper.
The main point of interest when you’re looking to buy a grill is the cooking performance. Similar to a wood-fired oven with a thermostat, the temperature has swinging tendencies around the mark. This is a consequence of the internal probe’s reaction, which triggers the auger to release more pellets into the firebox. As it reaches the target temperature, the momentum just keeps on rising. The same thing occurs when the temperature drops. However, none of this is too detrimental to the cooking process.
As far as smoke flavor is concerned, you will be pretty pleased with what the Sportsman has to offer. Depending on the wooden pellets chosen, you can end up having smoke bursts due to the auger that keeps feeding the firebox. The unit is equipped with a P-setting, which basically gives you more control over the quantity of pellets fed. When you set the P-setting to the highest value, you will notice that the temperature drops, making it more likely for the flame to burn out.
So, is the Sportsman a worthy purchase? It is if you want to purchase an affordable wood pellet grill and you don’t want to get the meanest cooking machine out there. It performs really well compared to other competitor products at similar prices. The features it comes with make it a pretty reliable product overall.
It does have a few temperature swings and you might find it difficult to cook foods that are very pretentious in terms of constant temperature upkeep. It provides even heating thanks to the porcelain-coated cast iron grates, which are also fairly easy to clean up when needed.
- The generous cooking surface of 829 square inches.
- Easy pellet clean-up.
- Safety grate for hopper.
- Built-in accessories & shelves.
- Durable heavy-gauge steel construction.
- Temperature swings.
- Small searing zone.
Right from the start, the Traeger Pro 575 brings something new to the table compared to the Sportsman. It embeds wireless technology so that you can control your grill straight from your smartphone. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
Released in 2019, the 575 uses a D2 controller that makes it easier for this model to maintain a steady temperature. Since the fan can use a variable speed, it will do so until it reaches the desired temperature, so that you can cook efficiently and precisely every time you fire up the frill. The temperature probe is essential to monitoring the temperature inside the grill, especially if you want to do so remotely.
The wireless technology carries a pretty intelligent name: Wi-FIRE. Using this technology, the D2 controller is capable of allowing you to remotely monitor the features and settings of interest on your 575 grills. It offers the possibility to turn off the grill, set timers, and even control the temperature inside it via the designated smartphone app. It also grants access to hundreds of downloadable recipes so that you can try something new every weekend. With the app, you will come in contact with other users in Traeger’s community. Shopping for accessories is also achievable straight from the app.
The D2 direct drive will put the brushless DC motor to good use, resulting in higher torque without too many rotations per minute. That leads to a powerful auger and makes it less likely for it to clog. With a resilient auger motor and requiring less maintenance overall, this unit basically improves the way grills use pellets.
Thanks to the PID controller and the motor, the Traeger 575 brings to our attention another feature worth mentioning: TurboTemp. This feature will allow the grill to quickly start each time you want to use it, and also makes sure that the grill reaches the desired temperature without further delay. The consistent temperatures of this grill will vary between 180 and 450 degrees, making sure that your meats taste just as they’re supposed to every time you cook.
If you’re interested in numbers, the 575 comes with a main grilling area of 418 square inches, a secondary grilling area of 154 square inches, has a total weight of 128 pounds, measures 41” W x 27” D x 53” H, and has a hopper capacity of 18 pounds.
- Embeds wireless technology for smartphone app control.
- Made from durable powder-coated steel.
- Keeps temperature at a consistent level.
- Creates powerful smoke due to variable fan speed.
- Powerful auger boosted by the brushless motor.
- Lacks double-sided wall insulation.
- Limited temperature range.
If you were to examine the differences between Pit boss vs Traeger based solely on the two aforementioned examples, it would seem like Traeger is the brand to go with. However, if you were to look over the specifications for their entire line of products, you might notice that Pit Boss offers more bang for the buck. Even so, Traeger managed to impress through the Pro line of grills which offer wireless connectivity and the possibility to work with the grill’s most important functions from a distance. In the end, it really matters what YOU find to be the most important and attractive features on a pellet grill.