If you’re thinking about getting a Traeger Grill, it’s a good idea to do some research ahead of time to make sure the grills are going to be a good fit for your needs. There are a lot of things to consider, so here are some of the things you should be thinking about before you invest.
We’re going to talk both about the pros and cons of the grills themselves, as well as your grilling habits and the lifestyle things you should think about before getting a premium grill.
By the end of this article, you should have a better sense of the things you need to know about your Traeger Grill, as well as whether you're the kind of person who will benefit from owning a fantastic grill like this.
There’s a lot to talk about, so let’s dive right in!
What Size Of Grill Do You Need?
The first thing you should be thinking about is what size grill you’re going to need. Traeger has a ton of options from smaller grills that are designed for limited backyard space, or even for grilling on an apartment deck, all the way through to huge professional models that are designed to handle a ton of cooking at once.
Chances are most people are going to want a grill somewhere between those two extremes, but it can be easy to bite off more grill than you can chew if you haven’t given it some thought first.
The best grills are big enough to manage all the day-to-day cooking you need easily with a little extra space ready for gatherings or special occasions.
That’s important because you don’t want a ton of extra space since that means more fuel to keep the grill hot enough, but a grill that’s too small will make you spend extra time cooking in multiple batches instead of all at once.
Make Sure You Are Allowed To Have A Wood Pellet Grill Before You Buy
One of the considerations that often gets forgotten for people who live in an HOA or in an apartment, townhome, or condo complex is that there can be specific regulations for grilling and for the kinds of grills, and the kinds of fuels, that are allowed in that area.
Most of the time wood pellet grills aren't going to be an issue, but it's a good idea to double-check and make sure you're going to be allowed to have a wood pellet grill before you invest in a Traeger.
The last thing you want is to buy an expensive Traeger grill, only to learn you have to resell it or give it away because you aren’t allowed to own that kind of grill.
Traeger Grills Are Good For More Than Grilling Or Smoking
Another consideration when you’re looking at a Traeger grill is that these grills work differently from other more conventional propane or charcoal grills.
For one thing, the internal heat management turns these grills into convection heat, the same kind of heat that you would get in a typical oven. It just has a very different flavor profile than it would be if you were cooking in an oven.
That means that these grills can also be used for baking, roasting, and other kinds of cooking. You can use them more as an all-in-one cooking appliance, rather than only as a grill or smoker.
Wood Pellets Can Be Expensive And Take Up Space
Another consideration before you get a Trager is where you’re going to store the wood pellets you need for the grill.
While wood pellets are highly compressed and take up less space than firewood would, they do still require some additional space and storage solutions to work well.
You should also be prepared for the fact that wood pellets can be kind of pricey, so this type of grill is a little more expensive to operate than a traditional charcoal or propane grill of the same size.
That said, there are cheaper alternative wood pellets other than the ones Traeger sells, and the results from that smoke flavor are hard to beat. So, while you need to be prepared for pellet storage, this isn’t really a downside.
Traeger Grills Are More Expensive Than Their Competition
Another important consideration is that Traeger is absolutely a premium luxury brand, and their grills are priced accordingly. There are other, more affordable, wood pellet grill options on the market. Many of those alternatives work just as well as Traeger for the majority of uses.
That said, Traeger created some of the first-ever wood pellet grills and have been improving on the design and efficiency of their grills ever since. So, while there are cheaper competitor brands out there, there really are some times when you just can’t beat a Traeger.
The Traeger App Is An Underutilized Gem
When you buy a Traeger Grill you aren’t just getting a grill. You’re also getting access to the Traeger App.
The app gives you a ton of tools, information, recipes, tips and tricks, reviews, and other critical information about your grill and grilling.
This is one of the ways the company adds value to their grills and makes the grills more valuable. If you’re looking to increase your grilling skills, want to learn new tips and techniques, or just want to branch out with new recipes to try and perfect, you won’t want to miss out on this app.
How Often Are You Planning To Grill?
A lot of people look forward to grilling and having a grill, buy an expensive grill, only to realize that they only actually want to grill a couple of times a year.
No grill is going to work as well as it’s supposed to if you only use it a couple of times a year. More importantly, Traeger grills are a huge investment.
Typically, Traeger is aimed at people who grill at least a couple of times a week through the summer, and sometimes through the rest of the year as well.
If you grill less than that, while a different grill might still be worth it, a full-size Traeger grill might not be. If you really want to get a Traeger, even if you’re only an occasional griller, it might be better to get one of their smaller more affordable models.
Smoking Is A Learning Curve
One of the most common sources of disappointment in the grilling world comes from the people who are looking forward to beautifully smoked foods, get a smoker or a wood pellet grill, and then are disappointed in their first smoked meal.
The truth is that there is a learning curve with any new wood pellet grill, and Traeger grills are no exception to that rule. It will take some time to figure out the ins and outs of getting a great grilling result on your Traeger, including things like figuring out what kind of wood pellets you want to use, and how to pair smoke with your ingredients.
Don’t be disappointed if it takes a little while to figure out how to make the kind of smoked foods you love. And look for the tips and tricks for your particular model of grill on the Traeger app to shortcut the learning process and start making delicious food sooner.
Not sure what cuts of meat are best for your grilling plans? Our article about Flank Steak alternatives can give you some key information about different cuts of beef!
Some Traeger Hoppers Are A Little Too Small To Be Effective
One of the disadvantages with some of the smaller Traeger grill models is that the smaller hopper for the wood pellets is less effective.
In case you aren’t familiar, the hopper on a wood pellet grill is where you put the wood pellets when you’re grilling. The pellets are supposed to slowly feed through the hopper into the heat chamber, which is where they put off smoke.
On the smaller grills, the hopper can clog, preventing the wood pellets from being delivered. It’s easy to fix, but it does mean that you need to keep a closer eye on smaller models of Traeger grill to make sure the wood pellets are still being delivered throughout cooking.
Traeger Grills Can Have Temperature Fluctuations
This is a pretty common problem for all wood fire or wood pellet grills, but it’s worth mentioning. Traeger grills let you choose the temperature you want your food to cook at, and most of the time the grill is pretty accurate with maintaining that temperature.
However, that accuracy is usually within a small range of temperatures, and you might have cooking temperatures as much as 20-30 degrees hotter or colder than you intended.
Watching the grill is usually enough to account for those changes in temperature and cooking time, but it can seriously mess with your grilling if you aren’t aware that those temperature fluctuations can happen.
Speaking of grilling, if you’re looking for new recipes to try, we have 23 Weight Watchers-approved grilling recipes for you to try.
Final Thoughts: Are Traeger Grills Worth The Hype?
There are a ton of things to love about Traeger grills and some things that aren't great but can be worked around. As long as you remember that these grills are really designed for grilling enthusiasts and people who will use their grills all the time.
Overall though, Traeger has earned their reputation for having some of the best wood pellet grills on the market. It doesn’t hurt that their customer service support is fantastic, or that they have one of the most useful grilling apps out there.