When going through pellet smokers, you are bound to run into such brands as Traeger and Camp Chef.
You certainly know Traeger, it is one of the most recognizable grill brands on the American market. Camp Chef, on the other hand, may not be quite as well known, but it’s still gradually earning a growing number of customers.
Traeger is responsible for creating the first pellet grill and throughout the entire time of operation, the company has specialized in manufacturing only this type of grill. Camp Chef covers many more products than just pellet grills, they mainly focus on devices that make it easier to cook outside.
In this article we focused on comparing both brands (Camp Chef vs Traeger) looking only into the offer of pellet grills.
Camp Chef vs Traeger – Face to Face Analysis
Out of the entire offer of both brands, we have selected grills that match each other best, which will make the comparison more fair. The comparison will feature: Traeger pro 575 and Camp Chef SMokepro DLX.
History of the brand
Traeger created the first pellet grill, the company was founded in 1985 and the year after that they patented their product. From that moment, for the next 20 years, they had been the only company manufacturing pellet grills which is why it is so well known by everyone. After twenty years, the patent expired, which allowed other companies to try their hand in this industry.
Camp Chef is a manufacturer the history of which started a little later, which was in 1990. At first they spent years manufacturing different kinds of equipment for making outdoor cooking easier, mostly for camping etc. It was only at a later stage when the company started also manufacturing household appliances intended for cooking in the backyard (smokers etc). After the Traeger’s patent expired, they also started manufacturing pellet grills, which today make a worthy competitor to Traeger.
The price range in both cases is big depending on the type of grill, size and equipment. Overall, however, it’s easy to notice that Camp Chef has quite lower prices, especially for a “starter grill”.
Traeger is a very popular brand that is still a leader on the market, thanks to which they can afford having higher prices as they will still have plenty of customers.
Both grills have similar features when it comes to the basic versions. You can expect a digital controller (PID in Camp CHef) that ensures a stable temperature with fluctuations of up to +/- 5 degrees F and the WiFire technology in Traeger.
Traeger PRO575 and CampChef SmokePro DLX have WiFi which allows you to connect to the grill using a smartphone app. This enables you to monitor the whole cooking process while away from the grill (Included are two probes).
On top of that, Traeger has introduced some new features in 2020, such as Turbotemp, which will take care of achieving a temperature very fast. There is also the feature that ensures more smoke if you want to have a more intense wooden flavor of food.
When it comes to the accessories sold separately, we need to mention the sear box from Camp Chef. A great tool that can achieve very high temperatures in a short time (up to 900 degrees F), which is perfect conditions for searing.
The manufacturer’s claims that a grill can maintain a stable temperature with fluctuations of up to +/- 5 degrees are rarely true. Of course in perfect conditions it is possible, but we need to keep in mind that the weather outside has a significant impact on the functioning of a grill.
It is natural that in a low temperature, with cold, strong wind, maintaining a fixed temperature is going to be a problem.
In practice, numerous customer reviews confirm that most of the time Traeger has no problem with stable temperatures but sometimes one has to be ready for bigger fluctuations. The situation is similar when it comes to Camp Chef, although here the temperature fluctuations are milder.
Either way, in both cases maintaining a fixed temperature isn’t a major problem, and small fluctuations aren’t something unacceptable.
In both cases the manufacturers offered 3 years of warranty for their product (August 2020).
It is not bad news, but after so many years on the market one should expect something more from Traeger, especially since they cost a little more.
Pellet hopper and cooking area
Both models offer nearly the same cooking area. They also have identical sizes of the pellet container (18 lbs) which is understandable considering the sizes of both grills.
The difference can be noticed in the mechanism responsible for transporting the pellet from the container to the furnace. Camp Chef has a simple mechanism with a spiral that simply delivers pellet when it is needed.
Traeger together with PRO D2® DIRECT DRIVE has a better designed system of providing pellet. Depending on what feature you choose, the speed of the entire mechanism changes, adjusting to the situation. On top of that, the problem of pellet getting stuck was solved, the new technology allows to reverse the spinning spiral, which makes it possible to remove the stuck pellet.
Both brands patented great ash removal systems that make removal of ash after the end of cooking easy, fast and effective.
On the bottom of the grill there’s a container where remains of the burned pellet and ash go. All you have to do is remove the container and empty it, then put it back in its place.
Now it is as simple as in a charcoal grill with an ash removal system.
However, you should still remember to once in a while clean the inside of the grill of ash using a vacuum cleaner.
Other available configurations
The offer of both manufacturers includes plenty of other interesting configurations for every occasion and situation. Camp Chef has a huge selection of pellet grills but it is Traeger that stands out in the industry in this regard.
Traeger as a brand that manufactures nothing but pellet grills focuses on a wide offer of their product. The result is plenty of different series available in all the different configurations, sizes and obviously prices.
Both brands offer good pellet grills but when choosing between Traeger and Camp Chef, you need to answer yourself the question, is it worth it to pay a little more for the brand?
Camp Chef offers an equally great or even better grill at a slightly lower price while having all the same features. If you want to save even more then buy the whole $200 cheaper regular version of Camp Chef SmokePro DLX without Wi-Fi.
If you don’t need this kind of technology then it’s one more argument against overpaying. You can have a grill just as efficient in nearly the same size for much cheaper, just without WiFi.
The Traeger grills from 2019 and 2020 are finally what plenty of grilling and smoking enthusiasts have been waiting for for years. The latest, revamped series offer technology and efficiency adequate to the customers’ expectations, the only downside is the slightly higher price and a bit poorer temperature control.