Choosing a grill is no easy task, but it is easy enough to decide that you want a pellet grill, as they are versatile and easy to use, and offer food some amazing wood-fired flavor that cannot be matched.
There are a good few pellet grills on the market, but most of the time it comes down to a decision between two brands: Z Grills and Traeger.
What’s the difference between Z Grills and Traeger? Traeger and Z Grills both offer great pellet grill options, but there are some differences between the two. Z Grills is the newer kid on the block, with Traeger being a trusted brand name when it comes to grills, but it is worth taking your time to go through a comparison between the two.
To help you decide which would be the better pellet grill for your grilling needs, we have done a thorough comparison between Z Grills and Traeger, to make it all a little clearer for you to make a choice!
A Background On The Brands
It always helps to know a little more about the brands before diving into a more technical comparison.
You would want to go with a brand that has a good reputation, and who is open to being contacted with any issues or questions you might have at a later stage.
Here is a little more on both brands for some background!
Z Grills are a newer brand, only really taking hold of the market around 2017.
The company was founded through backing from investors (nearly 1400 backers) under the campaign that Z Grills would bring a good quality pellet grill to the market with great technology but at an affordable price.
It is easy to understand why so many people would be interested in this campaign taking hold, as good quality pellet smokers are usually quite expensive.
Z Grills promised to offer a budget grill but without compromising on quality and features.
Even though Z Grills have only been on the market for a few years, they have done well to establish themselves as a trusted grill brand with consistently good ratings from users.
Traeger is a well-known, well-established brand in the grill industry, and even has a claim to the original pellet grill which was patented and produced in the 1980s.
The first pellet grill made by Traeger kept the same barrel design of a traditional offset smoker, but the offset box was removed and a hopper for wood pellets was installed in its place.
From this, Traeger designed the technology to feed wood pellets from the hopper to the firepot to cook food.
Traeger has long been the leader in the pellet grill market, but in 2007 their patent expired, and there were some more brands that came around.
However, they are still considered a leader in the market and offer some great-quality pellet grills which are high up there on the best grill list!
Comparison Between Z Grills And Traeger
There are certain factors to compare between Z Grills and Traeger to determine which comes out on top, and which might be the better option for you.
To help you better understand the difference between the two, here is an in-depth comparison of the most important factors.
Pellet grills are very versatile, which is why they are a first-choice when looking at a new grill.
It is so important to choose a pellet grill that has a wide temperature range, so you can make the most of the different cooking styles possible with a pellet grill.
To use a pellet grill as a smoker, you would need to have a minimum temperature of around 200°F.
To sear meat with a grill, it would need to be able to reach a temperature of around 400°F. Due to this, a good temperature range should be from 200-400°F to start.
Traeger pellet grills mostly have a temperature range of 180-450°F, which covers just about all the different cooking styles you could want it to.
Z Grills typically have a temperature range of 180-450°F too, so both offer good temperature ranges that give you all the options you need with cooking styles on a pellet grill.
Temperature control is possibly one of the most important, if not the most important, factors to consider when purchasing a pellet grill.
Without good temperature control, you will not be able to control cooking styles, which then really limits you with the quality of the food you could produce!
There are two different factors to consider when looking at temperature control, and these are the materials used to make the grill, and how well the grill has been made.
These both directly affect how well the grill distributes and retains heat as you cook with it.
You would also need to be able to control the temperature with a precise dial too, as certain cooking methods, such as smoking, require very precise temperatures.
Traeger grills are known for their outstanding temperature control, and this is thanks to the two stainless steel layers that work to fortify and insulate the cooking chamber.
With a Traeger grill, you should be able to control the temperature in 15°F increments, which gives you quite precise control over the temperature you can use in your grill.
Z Grills are constructed with a stainless steel body and a stainless steel cooking chamber, which has many benefits, one being that there is great temperature retention and control.
Generally, the temperature given on the grill will be within 5°F of the temperature you have set.
Using a Z Grill, you will be able to choose temperature settings in 25°F increments, which does give you some precise control, but it is not as precise as what Traeger grills offer.
Both Traeger and Z Grills offer great temperature control and retention, but if you are wanting a grill with as precise temperature control as possible, then Traeger does come out on top.
Surface Area For Cooking
The surface area for cooking is quite a personal choice because if you generally only cook for 2 people, you would not need as big a surface area as someone who would be cooking for a larger family.
Before heading in to choose a grill, you would need to consider how many people you would be cooking for on a regular basis. By knowing this, you would better be able to choose a grill that is more suited for your needs.
Both Z Grills and Traeger have different size pellet grills in their range, but it is important to remember that while the surface area of the grill will depend on how many people you cook for, it should be relative to the size of the grill.
There is no point in having a huge grill to set up if it only has a small cooking area.
Traeger has a range of grills, but their best seller, the Traeger Pro Grill, is available in two sizes. The smaller offers 575 square inches of cooking area, and the larger offers 780 square inches of cooking area.
There is a smaller grill that has only 380 square inches of cooking area, and an even smaller portable grill that only has 300 square inches of cooking area. The size of the cooking area you need is highly dependent on your cooking habits!
Z Grills have standard size grills that have either 450, 550, 600, 700, or 1000 square inches of cooking area, and this is only the primary cooking area.
The grills also feature warming racks and some additional features specific to certain grills.
It is difficult to determine which grill comes out on top when it comes to the cooking surface area, as this is an individual choice. However, Z Grills do have more options and a larger surface area grill to choose from.
On the other hand, Traeger offers some smaller size grills which might be a better option for some, and which offer the option of portability and grilling wherever you go.
Capacity Of The Hopper
When using a pellet grill, you don’t want to have to keep refilling the hopper just to keep the food cooking or smoking, so hopper size is important!
A bigger hopper size does help when smoking food for 12 hours or more, and you don’t want to be limited to how often you need to refill the hopper.
Most pellet grills burn between one to two pounds of wood pellets in an hour, but this is dependent on temperature, as higher temperatures have a higher burn rate.
Traeger grills almost all have a hopper capacity of 18 pounds, which gives you a good burning time before having to refill. The portable Traeger grills have a capacity of around 8 pounds.
The hopper capacity of Z Grills does vary according to the size of the grill, with the larger grills having hopper capacities of around 20 pounds, and the smaller ones holding around 10 pounds.
Most Traeger grills have a larger hopper size compared to grill size, but it really isn’t too much of a difference.
The price of a pellet grill is definitely something to consider, as they aren’t the cheapest items around, and it is a bit of an investment to make.
In most of the other comparison categories, Traeger and Z Grills are fairly even, but when it comes to price, the two are quite far apart.
Z Grills are almost a stand-alone in the market, being the most affordable good-quality pellet grill option. Z Grills provide great value for your money, and you really do not have to sacrifice much at all for the saving.
Traeger grills can be fairly priced, but they do not come very close to the budget-friendly option of Z Grills.
With Traeger, you can still get decently priced grills and the great quality they promise, but the name brand does come with a price hike.
The construction of a pellet grill is so important to ensure it is long-lasting and of great quality. Both Traeger and Z Grills are durable and made with premium materials.
Most Z Grills options are made from single-layer powder-coated steel, with porcelain-coated cooking grates on the inside.
These are easy to clean, are non-stick, and rust-resistant. The wheels of the grills are also of good quality and make it easy to move the grill around.
Traeger girls are also made with powder-coated steel components and feature porcelain-coated grates for cooking.
The higher-level models feature side-wall insulation for better fuel efficiency, which is handy in bad weather. Even higher range options have fully insulated bodies with stainless steel grates.
Overall, Traeger offers better construction, but this does not mean that Z Grills are not a great option either.
Added features can really add to the overall experience when using your pellet grill. The added features and accessories you can get from the two brands depend on the model of the grill you are looking at.
For most Z Grills, there aren’t too many added features other than warming racks and waterproof covers, but there is still so much you can do with the basic grill as it is.
Traeger grills do offer more added features, which is also why they carry a higher price tag.
Some Traeger grills come with meat probes, special smoke modes, low pellet sensors, grease management systems, and some turbo temperature systems too.
You will need to look at the particular model to see the extra features, but Traeger does offer more features than Z Grills generally do.
It is so important to have a look at the warranty offered when buying a new grill, as you don’t want to be stuck if something goes wrong.
Choosing a pellet grill with a good warranty also gives off a good sign that the product is well-made and you can trust the production.
Both Traeger and Z Grills offer 3-year warranties on their grills, which is a decent length of time. Either would be a good choice based on the warranty.
Now that we’ve looked at some of the most notable differences between Z Grills and Traeger, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
Are Traeger grills worth the money?
Trager grills are expensive compared to some other options, but this is because of the high-quality materials they are made from and also the advanced technology incorporated into the grills.
There are some other brands that match up close to Traeger grills but with a lower price tag.
How long can a Traeger grill last?
Traeger grills are made with quality and durable materials, and if you care for the Traeger grill properly, it can last for up to 10 years.
Expect your Traeger grill to last between 6-10 years, especially if kept clean and covered away from the elements.
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