In today’s article I’d like to touch upon the topic of Traeger and Rec Tec – which of them to choose?
The wood pellet grill market these days is very large, ever since the Traeger patent had expired there has been plenty of interesting manufacturers who keep one-upping each other with their technologies and ideas.
It is undeniable that, upon hearing the word “pellet grill”, it takes most people one second to think of the Traeger brand, which is responsible for promoting this product in the first place.
However, ever since plenty of other manufacturers had shown up, people started wondering about what the competitors have to offer. That is, among other things, why they started wondering and discussing which manufacturer is better, Rec Tec or Traeger?
The answer to that question can be found below in my more comprehensive comparison of the key aspects of both manufacturers of pellet grills.
Rec Tec vs Traeger
Rec Tec – It offers a lot in the basic version (Digital controller together with additional features) and even more gadgets sold separately, which makes it good news for those who like different types of configurations. For example, you can buy a second shelf in order to increase the total grilling area or a Competition Cart, which will significantly change the appearance of your smoker as well as improve mobility.
Traeger – The new series from Traeger, just like the Rec Tec, comes with many interesting and useful technologies. In the basic version, you can expect similar features as in Rec Tec (advanced digital controller) and you will also find a lot to choose from for yourself among things sold separately. There are plenty of useful things to choose from, such as a front folding shelf or an insulating blanket that will come in handy in wintertime.
Rec Tec – For many years now, they’ve been proving and always trying to develop their products, so it is no surprise here that temperature control is super easy. The digital controller and system are perfected enough that they handle maintaining a fixed temperature perfectly even under very unsteady weather conditions.
Traeger – Up until recently, I would have said that temperature control in Traeger is poor compared to the competitors, but taking their latest model into account, I am completely satisfied with the results. They have finally perfected the controller, which is much more precise than in previous series, but based on my experience it is not as good as its titular competitor.
Digital Controller and its features
Rec Tec – Precision, speed and wide temperature range at intervals of 5 degrees F as well as several other useful features such as the ability to plug in probes for example. It is possible to hook the controller to a mobile device thanks to Wi-Fi.
Traeger – You can also expect a multi-functional controller with a wide temperature range and many additional features. You can set the Timer, use the “super smoke” or “keep warm” programs, as well as connect to a mobile device thanks to Wi-Fi.
Rec Tec – In this matter it is definitely in favor of Rec Tec, you can expect a 6 year warranty period, which is rare among pellet grills.
Traeger – In this case you can sadly only expect a 3 year warranty period, which is very disappointing to me considering their expensive models.
Rec Tec – When it comes to the standard models available for everyone’s budget, there isn’t much to choose. The offer only includes three models: RT-340 (small and mobile), RT-590 (medium size) and RT-700 which is the size that will meet the expectations of most people. Of course each of them comes with ability to buy an additional shelf that increases the grilling area a bit. For those with definitely higher expectations, Rec Tec offers Premium models that offer a huge grilling area, but sadly they cost a lot.
Traeger – It comes with a slightly bigger selection when it comes to smaller models available for everyone’s budget, but it doesn’t have Premium models. The Traeger offer includes several series, and each of them is available in different sizes, which makes it easier to find the right matching model.
I am not actually going to split this into two different commentaries since both brands offer the same in terms of mobility. Rec Tec and Traeger have decent small portable pellet grills in their offers that were designed with mobility in mind.
Rec Tec – The smallest mobile model has a tank with 15lbs capacity, the RT-590 model comes with a 30 lbs tank, whereas the biggest model out of the basic series of pellet grills offers a tank with whole 40 lbs of capacity. One could actually wonder if a tank this big is even necessary, but it’s worth noting that 40lbs of pellets means few dozen hours of cooking.
Traeger – Considering the offer as a whole, it is easy to notice that Traeger models come with a pellet hopper that has 18 to 24 lbs of capacity. It is definitely less than the competitor, but does anyone really need that much capacity?
Rec Tec – The company was founded in the year 2011 which means that, compared to the competitive Trager, it is a pretty young brand that is gradually earning the customers’ love by not only caring about quality but also customer support.
Traeger – It is responsible for creating the first pellet grill back in 1985, one year later the pellet grill was patented and so for the next few decades Trager was their only manufacturer. It is Traeger that was responsible for promoting this type of grill, which has few decades of history now. Plenty of people decide to buy a new pellet grill from Traeger due to the sentiment and history.
Rec Tec – You can hear from everywhere that Rec Tec has a high quality customer support before and after the purchase. It is confirmed by numerous reviews that don’t spare good words about Rec Tec. The manufacturers approach the customer very seriously, helping with every problem and malfunction quickly and efficiently.
Traeger – It’s probably due to popularity that the opinions differ here. There’s plenty of people who are satisfied with customer support, but there’s also quite a lot of negative reviews visible for Traeger’s post-sale support, which doesn’t look good.
Quality of workmanship and durability
Rec Tec – When it comes to the RT-700 model, the quality of materials and workmanship looks definitely better to me. I can see not only more solid elements here, but also greater attention to detail. When it comes to durability I am satisfied as well, and all of it is confirmed by 6 years of warranty.
Traeger – Traeger has improved a lot in this regard in recent years, especially when introducing the new series in 2019, but I can still see different shortcomings here. I also have my doubts about durability and quality of individual elements, on top of that I am concerned about the warranty for the Timberline series only being 3 years long.
Rec Tec vs Traeger - Conclusion
This is actually a very difficult task to pick one single winner as they both have very good pellet grills in their offers. Rec Tec and Trager give the same opportunities when it comes to preparing delicious BBQ. That’s why, when thinking about their products at similar prices, one has to pay attention to details.
Upon a closer analysis, my choice would be Rec Tec
To me, this is something new that stimulates the market and forces the competition to work on their models. Rec Tec only has few models in their offer, but they keep trying to perfect them all the time, the result of which is whole 6 years of warranty for the RT-700 model. It only shows the quality of workmanship as well as Rec Tec’s confidence in their product’s very good quality. Another important argument is the customer support, there is truly very few negative opinions to be found for them, it is actually quite the opposite, everyone praises their approach to the customer.
Traeger also has very good grills in their offers, which is confirmed by how popular they are. Ever since competitors came along, however, we have to pay attention to what each manufacturer has to offer for their price, so that we don’t overpay just for the brand.