Which brand of smoker is better?
Smoking food calls for more preparation, attention to detail and cooking time than traditional grilling. To give yourself the best chance of success, start with a reliable smoker that has all the features you need. Out of several prominent manufacturers, Traeger and Pit Boss make some of the best ones. The two brands offer varied models that have their strengths and weaknesses.
Trager pellet grills
Many years ago, Traeger’s founder pioneered the electric, mechanical pellet grill to make the smoking process easier.
Traditional barbecue grills use either gas or charcoal to create searing heat. Pellet smokers use an electric element to burn compressed wood pellets at controlled rates, using the hot smoke to slowly cook food. Before then, the most common way to smoke food at large scales was with charcoal. There’s nothing wrong with charcoal as a heat source, but portioning, lighting and maintaining hot coals can be a bit of a hassle. Managing smoke levels manually is even more of a pain.
To solve this issue, Traeger engineered the mechanical pellet grill, which lets you set the temperature using a dependable thermostat. It then uses a heating element to turn the pellets into rich wood smoke at a constant rate, removing much of the headache from all-day smoking endeavors.
Trager pellet smoker pros
- Consistent and easy to use: This is the biggest upside to getting a Traeger smoker. You can rest assured that few other pellet smokers are as straightforward as Traegers. With just a little experience, you can prepare impressive feasts with one of its large grills.
- High maximum capacity: If you frequently host large backyard barbecues, you won’t find many better options than a Traeger smoker.
- Optional advanced features: Trager incorporates some novel, useful technologies aside from their highly dependable thermostats. Some premium models include Wi-Fi connectivity and support for Amazon Alexa voice control, which can help you stay involved in the party instead of constantly checking the grill.
Traeger pellet smoker cons
- They’re somewhat bulky: If you don’t have a ton of space on your patio, you’ll have to carefully choose which Traeger is right for you. It does make some compact options, but not many. Plus, side-by-side pellet smokers are large.
- They cost a lot: It’s not exactly surprising that the company responsible for inventing pellet grills makes great premium options. To get your hands on one of those high-end smokers, though, you’ll have to make a decent investment.
Best Traeger smokers
It boasts over 80 square inches of cooking area and the premium quality that Traeger is known for.
This is one of the rare models to come factory-equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity and Alexa support, making it one of the best smart smokers you’ll find.
You don’t have to stay at home to make complex smoked dishes, thanks to this portable gas-driven smoker.
It’s not the biggest option, but it is the most affordable one to include Wi-Fi and voice control.
Pit Boss smokers
Pit Boss was largely inspired as a competitor to Traeger, hitting the market with low-cost alternatives. It still offers high-quality, value-oriented pellet grills that perform nearly as well as anything from Traeger.
In addition to those, however, Pit Boss also makes some great vertical smokers. Some use a similar electric pellet system as a side-by-side pellet grill, while others use gas as a heat source. If you don’t have much room for a huge pellet grill, vertical smokers are worth a look.
Pit Boss smoker pros
- Great value for the money: Compared to Traeger grills, Pit Boss smokers deliver comparable performance at a fraction of the price.
- Rugged construction: Despite their moderate cost, Pit Boss smokers are made from high-grade metal with dependable thermostats and heating elements that should hold up in the long term.
- Impressive vertical smoker capacity: You can’t beat a vertical smoker when it comes to getting the most efficient yield for the unit’s footprint.
Pit Boss smoker cons
- Smaller variety to choose from: Pit Boss doesn’t make as many different models as Traeger. Nonetheless, you’ll still probably find one that meets your needs.
- Fewer novel technologies: You won’t find as many Pit Boss models with Wi-Fi connectivity or digital thermostats.
- Vertical smokers aren’t as convenient: A side-by-side smoker works a lot like a regular grill: You simply open the clamshell lid to check, flip and remove foods as needed. Vertical smokers pack a lot more food per cubic inch. The layout also makes it more difficult to get your thermometer into the meat and manage cooking times.
Best Pit Boss smokers
This compact but spacious model is the perfect no-nonsense option for newcomers to the art of smoking.
Sold by Amazon
With over 1,800 square inches of real estate on a footprint of only 5.5 square feet, nothing else can smoke large amounts more efficiently than this one.
Sold by Amazon
If you don’t have much room to work with and don’t trust electric heating elements, this slim, gas-powered option is right for you.
Sold by Amazon
With space for a considerable amount of food, this competes with Traeger’s biggest models in terms of capacity but costs notably less.
Sold by Amazon
Should you get a Traeger or Pit Boss smoker?
If money is no object and you want the best smoker with the most advanced technologies inside, get a Traeger. If you want to save money or smoke huge amounts of food without the bulk of a massive side-by-side smoker, Pit Boss is the way to go.
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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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