Yoder Pellet Grill vs. Traeger: Which Pellet Grill Is Better?

Yoder Pellet Grill vs. Traeger

Whether in the backyard or on competition grounds, barbecue demands the best grill in the game. However, comparing one pellet grill to one of the other hundreds available can be a headache at best. Why not narrow your search down to two worthwhile options: Traeger Grills and Yoder Smokers?

Traeger Grills offers lighter models with fashionable designs at an affordable price for smaller group gatherings. Yoder Smokers features an innovative heavy grills line that favors function over fashion at a hefty price tag. While both manufacturers have their merits, Traeger Grills cannot outcook Yoder Smokers  – if you can afford the Yoder.

Even despite Yoder’s apparent victory, your budget could sway you to side with Traeger instead. Hold your verdict until we present you with all the evidence for why both companies deserve your consideration.

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What Is A Pellet Grill?

Both Traeger Grills and Yoder Smokers manufacture specialized equipment known as pellet grills. Pellet grills act as a three-for-one cooker, combining the utility of gas grills, kitchen ovens, and charcoal smokers.

Their name comes from the pellets they consume as fuel. Each pellet possesses its own distinct flavor that passes into the ingredients on the grill. Better yet, this organic kindling keeps the environment – and your lungs – clean by limiting gas emissions.

Despite their modern-day notoriety, pellet grills only gained popularity in recent years. In fact, before 1980, none had even been invented. We can thank one inventor for our newfound favorite barbecuer: Joe Traeger.

How Did Traeger Grills Start?

Pellet grills may have remained an anomaly, but the people of the 1970s raved about pellet stoves. These appliances utilized the same fuel source as their outdoor counterparts but to heat the house instead of the food. 

That is until a catastrophe in the kitchen struck the Traeger household. After Joe Traeger’s gas grill came aflame while cooking dinner, he decided to reengineer these machines. It only took one year for Joe Traeger to introduce the genius of pellet stoves to the world of grilling.

The patent Traeger filed after that protected him and his family’s newest product for twenty years. However, in 2006, that defense failed as the patent became available to the public.

Every cookware company had eyes on this potential moneymaker. One manufacturer, in particular, had their own idea for innovating on the original idea: Yoder Smokers.

How Did Yoder Smokers Start?

Yoder Smokers started with the simple passion of a man who knew his way around a grill. Don Cary, a mere employee in the construction-manufacturing industry, tampered with designs for grills and gifted them to friends. Their resounding success turned his hobby into a business, and that business became Yoder Smokers.

While Traeger Grills aimed to manufacture premium cookware for the typical family, Yoder Smokers focused on competitive grillers. Cary designed these models for the stage, not the lawn.

However, in recent years, Carry has changed his tune. Seeing the success of companies like Traeger, he brought his brand to the backyard.

Comparing Brands Of Grills

As creatures of habit, we humans tend to gravitate towards what we’re already familiar with. By this logic, Traeger would win over every single customer. Their thirty years of experience building pellet grills give them an edge over any other company.

Yoder has yet to acquire the household infamy that Traeger holds, but don’t discount its credibility. This rising star could hold a candle to its predecessor.

Comparing these companies will require representatives from both sides. For this example, we’ll focus on contrasting Traeger Grills’ Ironwood 885 model with Yoder Smokers’ YS640s model. While different in form, these two embody the ideals of their manufacturers without question.

Traeger Grills vs. Yoder Smokers: Construction

The composition of an appliance does more than make a fashion statement. Proper materials can amplify the taste of whatever food they affect. On the other hand, ineffective crafting can lead to uneven cooking.

When it comes to grills, their permanent station outside demands that they withstand the weather. The best grills, however, look as good as they cook.

Traeger Grills Construction

Traeger Grills’ Ironwood 885 withholds all ingredients inside of a barrel-shaped firebox. Unlike other Traeger products, this model forgoes accent colors in favor of an all-encompassing, conventional black.

The lack of color does not equate to a lack of quality. With an exterior made of 13-gauge steel and an interior coated in porcelain, this machine can withstand considerable wear. Not to mention, these materials make the cleanup process quick and effortless.

Traeger refused to chintz on the accessories too. 304-grade stainless steel comprises the side shelving – a material that tops any other on the market in terms of durability. Even the firepot and drip tray come from 18 and 20-grade steel, respectively.

Yoder Smokers Construction

The YS640s is a behemoth to behold. Its angular, all-black design branches outward to accommodate the hopper and funnel, requiring significant space.

10 gauge steel comprises the cooking space and hopper, while 14 gauge steel makes up the rest. This construction ensures that no dents or scratches can mar your machine.

Despite its striking weight, the YS640s does come with wheels implanted on all four legs. These can aid in its otherwise-problematic mobility, should you ever need to relocate it.

One final benefit comes in the form of the YS640s’s heat-resistant handles. With flames filling the inside, burning yourself becomes a commonplace risk. However, these handles ensure your skin stays cool.

Winner: Tie. Both machines can take a beating, but their composition contributes little to their overall quality. Pick whichever accentuates your style.

Traeger Grills vs. Yoder Smokers: Temperature Control

When the chef proclaims that the meat is “hot off the grill,” we expect to eat a heated meal. However, without the proper precision, ingredients risk uneven grilling. How can you impress the neighborhood if half of your patties remain raw?

We rely on the digital systems integrated into each grill to ensure an even roast. How accurately these systems relay and retain these temperatures, however, can make or break their grill’s viability.

Traeger Grills Temperature Control

Traeger’s Ironwood collection sports the D2 Direct Drive programming system – otherwise known as a PID controller. PIDs allow the chef to change and check temperatures without exposing their ingredients to the outside air. This prevents heat from escaping via an opened hood.

The Ironwood 885 can handle heats between 180º F to 500º F. While improving over their earlier models; these temperature caps leave Traeger lagging behind their competitors.

Chefs can select whatever temperature they desire, so long as it is an increment of 5º F. Any ingredients housed on the grill top should deviate no further than 5º F from their predetermined setting.

Yoder Smokers Temperature Control

Other companies compete to upgrade their temperature control systems more so than any other on the market. Yoder saw this struggle and decided to invent their own temperature controller altogether.

The YS640s model utilizes Yoder’s signature Versatile Cooking System to ensure the perfect outcome. This allows chefs to set the temperature anywhere between 150º F and 600º F. Any ingredient included on the grill will fall within 5º F of their intended temperature.

If that weren’t convincing enough, the YS640s integrates a piece of technology called the Variable Displacement Damper. That Damper regulates the firebox to better retain and regulate the heat therein.

Winner: Yoder Smokers. Yoder outdoes Traeger in terms of temperature with a broader range of options and a higher chance of accuracy.

Traeger Grills vs. Yoder Smokers: Cooking Surface Area

When entertaining a party of hungry guests, chefs need all the space on the grill they can get. Each ingredient occupies precious inches of the grill top – and the best brands don’t waste a single one. Every guest you expect will require you to reserve roughly 200 inches of room on the grill.

Traeger Grills Cooking Surface Area

True to its name, the Ironwood 885 provides 885 total inches of space to cook on. However, the main cooking grate splits that surface area with an upper rack. The main grate holds 570 inches of food, while only 315 inches of ingredients can cohabitate on the upper rack.

One notable benefit of Traeger Grills: their two meat probes. Probes test the temperature of each ingredient and relay that information at will. This keeps your hands clean and your head in the game.

Yoder Smokers Cooking Surface Area

We hope you have plenty of company because the YS640s model provides 1,070 square inches of cooking space. The primary cooking rack contains space for 640 square inches of food. Their secondary rack, while smaller, can still house 430 square inches on its own.

Like with Traeger’s models, Yoder machines come equipped with one set of two meat probes. While lacking in any brand-specific functionality, they ease the stress of cooking all the same.

Winner: Yoder Smokers. While both provide the same amount of meat probes, the YS640s model possesses twice as much space.

Traeger Grills vs. Yoder Smokers: Hopper Capacity

Every machine requires a power source – for pellet grills, that source is the hopper. This device controls and channels the wood pellets that fuel the flames. Long-lasting barbecues require hefty hoppers.

The industry standard mandates that hoppers house at least 18 pounds of pellets. As grills have grown in size, however, so too have their hoppers. Or, at least, they should.

Traeger Grills Hopper Capacity

Traeger outdoes the industry standard by boasting a 20-pound hopper. With 885 square inches of food to heat, this grill needs all the pellets it can get. Thankfully, the Ironwood’s hopper supplies it with plenty of pellets to keep those ingredients cooking.

Yoder Smokers Hopper Capacity

Given the massive size of the YS640s model in general, it’s no surprise that its hopper followed suit. This unit’s hopper can store up to 20 lb. of pellets, keeping your eyes on the food instead of the fuel.

Winner: Tie. Neither company’s hoppers innovate on the conventional models to any meaningful degree.

Traeger Grills vs. Yoder Smokers: Price

The cost of a product clues you into the quality of its work – and grills are no exception. A momentary expense could ensure the success of future barbecues. But for families on a budget, big-ticket items may be nothing more than a fantasy.

Traeger Grills Price

For $1,500, one could think twice about buying the Ironwood 885. However, Traeger’s premium prices come as proof of their long-standing quality. Thirty years of success testify to their machine’s durability.

Should the unexpected occur and your model short circuits too soon, fear not: Traeger products come with a three-year warranty. Given the company’s reputation, you will rarely need to utilize this guarantee, if ever. However, it’s better to have it and not need it either way.

Yoder Smokers Price

Other grill companies consider Traeger an expensive competitor. Yoder Smokers, however, surpasses the Traeger price tag by a longshot. The YS640s model will run customers an extra five hundred dollars in comparison to Traeger’s Ironwood 885.

While durable by design, Yoder packages their purchases with a ten-year warranty. That guarantees no-worries grilling for an entire decade.

Winner: Tie. Yoder’s warranty more than triples Traeger’s, but their prices reflect this to implausible degrees. Traeger understands the budget of an average American family. 

Related Questions

Do Traeger Grills or Yoder Smokers have Wifi?

Both Traeger Grills and Yoder Smokers integrate wifi capabilities into their newest products. Traeger’s Ironwood 885 allows customers to control the machine’s settings through their cleverly-titled “Wifire” app.

Yoder’s YS640s model comes with built-in wifi features. The company even designed its own app – the YS Drive – to accompany its technology.

How much do Traeger Grills and Yoder Smokers weigh?

The Yoder Smokers YS640s model weighs in at 335 lbs. while the Traeger Ironwood 885 only weighs 175 lbs. Move both of these machines with care, and be sure to utilize their built-in wheels whenever possible for easier transportation.

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Final Verdict

You understand your needs better than anyone else. Those with simple tastes can craft a delicious meal despite Traeger’s otherwise-meager offerings. Your wallet will thank you for walking out with the Ironwood 885.

Despite the financial sacrifice required for its purchase, Yoder Smoker’s YS640s outdoes Traeger in every other viable capacity. Grilling is, at its essence, about how much you can fit on the grill and how well it cooks. In that regard, Yoder’s expansive surface area and range of temperatures grant it the victory every time. 

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Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent’s former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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