The Best Traeger Grills of 2022

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Straight to the Point

If you want the best-of-the-best, the Traeger Timberline is our top pick. We also liked the Traeger Pro Series 780, which is about $1000. You can read our review on pellet smokers (including other brands besides Traeger) here.

We’re fans of pellet grills; they’re efficient and easy to operate and can maintain a steady temperature for hours (which is ideal for smoking meats). Plus, their hardwood pellets yield a subtle, wood-fired flavor.

Though many major grill manufacturers offer a pellet-burning option—we’ve tested lots of them—Traeger is synonymous with pellet grills. The Oregon-based company has been making grills since 1985, and wood pellets have been part of their story since the beginning. The company began as a home heating business, and in the early ‘80s they introduced the idea of wood pellets made from compressed sawdust—a readily available byproduct of the region’s logging industry—as a way to keep homes cozy for less cash. To combat the problem of seasonal demand, Traeger soon built a wood pellet-powered grill to drive year-round purchases. You could say say Traeger was into wood pellets before they were cool (or hot?).

Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore


Today, Traeger offers an extensive range of pellet grills and smokers, with prices that vary from a few hundred dollars to thousands. But what’s the difference between all of these grills? To discern whether it’s worth splurging on a top-of-the-line Traeger, we put our testers to work evaluating six models. Across the board, the Traeger grills were easy to assemble—30-to-60 minutes is all you’ll need—and easy to clean.

Here’s what you need to know about each Traeger grill before committing to your new backyard best friend. (We’ve put them in order from most to least expensive—don’t let the first price tag scare you off!)

Traeger Timberline  

The Timberline—or Timberline XL for an additional $300—features an induction cooktop, WiFi connectivity, touchscreen controls, and loads of accessories to make your outdoor cooking life easier. Our testers even enjoyed the Timberline’s assembly process, which they cited as “not only easily understood, but also fun.” When’s the last time you had fun assembling anything? 

During our flank steak test, our reviewers liked the Timberline’s steady temperature and consistent smoke distribution that produced nicely cooked meat with a moderate smoke flavor. The Timberline also aced our baking test (we made a pizza). It was no surprise that this Traeger grill also turned out tasty chicken wings and an ultra-smoky, richly barked pork butt. 

Best For: If you want a grill that can function as a full outdoor kitchen—one capable of grilling, smoking, searing, simmering, and baking—the Traeger Timberline offers this flexibility. It’s also great for a crowd thanks to a huge cooking area and generous hopper capacity.

Challenges or Shortcomings: The Timberline doesn’t come cheap, and it’s a large appliance that demands adequate space. This probably isn’t the grill for someone who just wants to dabble in grilling or smoking.

Price at time of publish: $3500.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 59 x 51 x 25 inches
  • Cooking space: 880 square inches 
  • Max temperature: 500°F
  • Hopper capacity: 22 lbs

Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore


Traeger Ironwood 885

traeger-ironwood-pellet-grill

The Ironwood 885 is a large, mid-priced grill from Traeger. It features WiFi connectivity, a sensor to alert you when pellet levels are low, and a digital display for easy temperature control—just to name a few amenities. As with the Timberline, our testers had no complaints about the setup process with the Ironwood 885.

Surprisingly, testers were more impressed with how the Ironwood 885 performed in our searing tests rather than the smoke test. Even with a “super smoke” function, this grill imparted very little smoke flavor. It also struggled to maintain maximum temperature, hovering around 490°F rather than 500°F.

Best For: If you’re not a fan of intense smoke flavors, the Ironwood 885 may be worth a closer look. In our long smoke test, testers described the resulting pork butt as more of a roasted pork than a true smoked butt—juicy meat, faint smoke flavor. 

Challenges or Shortcomings: If you’re after a large-capacity pellet grill to use primarily for smoking purposes, the Ironwood 885 may prove disappointing due to its ultra-subtle smoked results.

Price at time of publish: $1600.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 54 x 47 x 27 inches
  • Cooking space: 885 square inches 
  • Max temperature: 500°F
  • Hopper capacity: 20 lbs

Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore


Traeger Pro 780

Grill and Smoker

Our testers said the Traeger Pro 780 “includes a fair amount of nice features for the price.” Some of these include WiFi (noticing a theme yet with Traeger?), a digital controller, and TurboTemp functionality for quick heat-up. Traeger claims that TurboTemp “improves startup time and helps grill temperature recover more quickly after lifting the lid.” 

The Pro 780 shines best in the grilling and smoking arenas, yielding juicy, flavorful chicken wings and an evenly smoked—albeit subtly-flavored—pork butt. Similar to the Ironwood 885, our long smoke tester compared the resulting butt to a roast pork, but it did turn out a consistent smoke ring.

Best For: If you enjoy the occasional bout of weekend grilling and would like the option to occasionally smoke meats or vegetables, the Pro 780 will probably fit the bill nicely. It’s a reasonably priced grill packed with features, and it’s easy to move around thanks to its rugged wheels.

Challenges or Shortcomings: Again, if you’re looking for rich smoke flavor, the Pro 780 may be too subtle. If your grilling style involves repeatedly opening the lid to add or remove food, frustration may ensue over dropping temperatures.

Price at time of publish: $1000.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 55 x 49 x 27 inches
  • Cooking space: 780 square inches 
  • Max temperature: 500°F
  • Hopper capacity: 18 lbs

Serious Eats / Will Dickey


Traeger Pro 34

smoker

The Traeger Pro 34 is actually part of the brand’s Gen 1 Pro Series, which means it isn’t loaded with the modern features of Traeger’s new, pricier grills—though it does have a digital temperature controller. 

To be honest, our testers didn’t love the Pro 34, citing difficulty with higher temperatures (it maxed out at 450°F) and poor heat retention. The Pro 30 imparted little to no smoke flavor in the searing and baking tests, but did produce moderately smokey chicken wings. One tester described the Traeger Pro 34 as “decidedly average”—it’ll get the job done, but it won’t knock your socks off.

Best For: The Pro 34 is best suited to occasional backyard grillers who aren’t looking for intense smoke flavor or a hard sear. 

Challenges or Shortcomings: This grill struggles with heat retention and high temperatures, which can lead to inconsistencies in cooking.  

Price at time of publish: $700.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 53 x 49 x 27 inches
  • Cooking space: 884 square inches
  • Max temperature: 500°F (though testers couldn’t get it there)
  • Hopper capacity: 18 lbs

Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore


Traeger Tailgater 20 Portable

traeger-tailgater

As its name suggests, the Tailgater 20 Portable is meant to be…portable. Its compact size and easy-fold legs make this grill a good fit for balconies, small patios, or, yep, to load up and take to the game. You’ll find a digital controller and a handy keep warm mode—always useful while entertaining! 

Our testers liked this grill for its ability to infuse meats with a mild-but-lingering smoke flavor, as well as its speedy heat-up time—less than 14 minutes—and solid heat retention. They did find the max temperature of 450°F insufficient when it came to searing, but otherwise the Tailgater 20 Portable was deemed a great value. 

Best For: The Tailgater 20 Portable is ideal for small spaces and portability where basic grilling and smoking is the goal. 

Challenges or Shortcomings: This isn’t a top-performing grill when it comes to searing, nor should it be looked to for heavy smoke flavor.

Price at time of publish: $530.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 37 x 36 x 18 inches
  • Cooking space: 300 square inches
  • Max temperature: 450°F
  • Hopper capacity: 8 lbs

Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore


Traeger Ranger Portable

Ranger Pellet Grill and Smoker in Black

Traeger’s other portable model is the Ranger, which looks more like a big box than a conventional grill, but still offers digital controls and a keep warm function. At first glance, the Ranger looks like a great pick for tailgating or camping, but we have to be honest: our testers didn’t love this model. 

Due to the grill’s small size, it heats up quickly and retains heat well, but testers didn’t notice any smoke (or char) flavor during the steak searing test. The Ranger did come through with flavorful chicken wings during the smoke test, which left some testers saying they would recommend this as a portable grill, but don’t expect it to produce the best meal of your life. 

Best For: The Ranger is better-suited for camping, tailgating, or small-batch grilling with moderate expectations.

Challenges or Shortcomings: This isn’t a grill for long smoking, or feeding a large crowd. 

Price at time of publish: $450.

Key Specs:

  • Dimensions: 21 x 20 x 13 inches
  • Cooking space: 176 square inches
  • Max temperature: 450°F
  • Hopper capacity: 8 lbs

Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore


Our Takeaways

It’s the most expensive, but sometimes you really do get what you pay for: the Traeger Timberline has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from the price point, and it’s the Traeger grill that most impressed our testers. It’s easy to assemble, easy to clean, and performs well across the board. The Timberline is a great buy for the serious grilling or smoking person. 

If you’re not keen on dropping a few thousand bucks, the Traeger Pro 780 is a smart choice—as long as you’re not dreaming of a strong smoke flavor from everything that comes off the grill. 

FAQs

How do you clean a Traeger grill?

Traeger has an in-depth, step-by-step cleaning guide that can be found here. They also sell their own grill cleaner, which we found worked well.

Where are Traeger grills made?

While Traeger grills used to be made in the United States, they are now manufactured in China.

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