Z Grill Vs. Traeger: Which Pellet Grill Is Better?

Matthew Mountain
by Matthew Mountain

Nothing says summertime like a cookout. And at the center of any good cookout is the grill, on which numerous foods are cooked to the enjoyment of the grill master and their guests. But there are a variety of grills out there, and some are ideal for specific occasions while others are ideal for different occasions.

Z Grill and Traeger are two of the most popular grill brands on the market today, and in the following sections, these brands will be compared to underscore which brand is superior to the other.

Z Grills and Traeger grills are quite similar in a lot of ways, but Z Grill puts out a better line of grills. Z Grills are more affordable than Traegers, and the largest Z Grill model has more cooking surface area than the Traeger equivalent. Traeger grills allow users to control heat more precisely. One can’t go wrong with either brand.

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Z Grill Background

Z Grills have been around since 2017. That year, a campaign raised almost half a million dollars—from 1,400 people—to finance the creation of the first Z Grill. The goal of this crowdfunding operation was simple: create a high-tech pellet grill that didn’t come with a high price tag.

This mission sprung from the reality that there weren’t a lot of affordable pellet grills on the market at the time, and the ones that were technically affordable often didn’t perform well. Z Grills have only been around for a few years, yet they’re now leaders in the modern grilling world.

Z Grills combine quality with an affordable price, and this is the main reason why they’re preferred, not just by U.S. grillers but on an international level as well. As of now, they’re sold online and at numerous stores.

Traeger Background

Traeger has been around a lot longer than Z Grill, and they claim to have manufactured and patented the first pellet grill sometime during the 1980s. Most Traeger grills look like barrel-style offset smokers, but the difference is in that Traeger grills utilize hoppers instead of offset boxes for wood-pellet storage.

When Traeger grills first came out, wood-pellet technology was pretty much brand new. Traeger discovered that wood pellets can be fed from a hopper, through a rotating auger, and into a fire pot where the food is cooked.

Up until that point, there was no easy way to grill or smoke foods on a wood-burning fire; the only way was to manage a literal fire. Therefore, when Traeger invented an easy way for one to smoke or grill with wood pellets, wood-pellet grills became a red-hot success. Almost 40 years later, they’re a household name in grilling.

Z Grill vs. Traeger

Z Grills and Traeger grills are both well-known in the grilling world, and while they’re largely different from one another there are some similarities. In the following sections, Z Grills and Traeger grills will be compared according to temperature control, temperature range, cooking surface area, hopper size, and price. Read about each factor so you can know which grill is best for you.

Z Grill vs. Traeger: Temperature Control

If you pooled a dozen wood-pellet grill owners and asked them what the most important quality of a wood-pellet grill is, it’s likely you’d get a unanimous “temperature control” for an answer. In order to make great food, a grill’s temperature has to be consistent and precise. Therefore, a grill has to be constructed with these two temperature qualities in mind.

When thinking about temperature control, one must first look at how the grill is constructed and what materials are used to build it. This is because a grill’s build and the materials used in its construction play big roles in determining how much the grill retains and distributes heat consistently.

Next, one must look at how easy it is to set the temperature using a dial. Meat smokers, for example, need to have grills that allow for the temperature to be turned down to the lowest possible setting.

Z Grill

Z Grills are made of stainless steel, which means they retain heat quite well. They’re also rust-resistant. When choosing a setting on a Z Grill, one can expect the temperature to be within 5°F of the selected setting. Z Grills heat in increments of 25°F, and this is unfortunately not ideal for individuals who need more precise temperature increments.


Traeger grills also retain heat well, mainly because their cooking chambers are insulated by two stainless steel layers. These grills heat in increments of 15°F, which makes them better than the Z Grill for precision cooking. The 10° disparity may seem insignificant, but any master griller will tell you that every degree counts.

Winner: Traeger

While both grills retain heat quite well, a Traeger is better at precision cooking. Therefore, the Traeger grill is perfect for someone who really cares about the details when they’re grilling.

Z Grill vs. Traeger: Temperature Range

Wood-pellet grills are versatile, so they work great as smokers along with being excellent grills. A pellet grill must have a wide temperature range, as without this it will only be able to cook a limited number of things.

Most meats smoke between 200° and 250°F, and to sear something one would need a grill that reaches 400°F. Therefore, a pellet grill that has a range of 200° and 400°F is ideal.

Z Grills have a temperature range of 180 to 450°F, and this range is one of the best for grills on the market right now. The Traeger pellet grill has a temperature range of 180 to 400°F, so its range is inferior to that of the Z Grill.

Z Grill vs. Traeger: Cooking Surface Area

Cooking surface area is another one of those qualities that can’t be overlooked. If you’re cooking for a large group of people often, then you’re going to need a grill that can handle this. Traeger and Z Grill both put out a range of grills, and these grills come in different sizes to accommodate different needs.

A Z Grill has 450, 500, 550, 600, 700, or 1000 inches of primary cooking surface area. All Z Grills come with a warming rack too, and these provide additional cooking space.

The Traeger Pro Grill, which is the brand’s flagship grill, comes in two sizes: one has a 575-inch cooking surface area while the other has 780 inches of cooking surface area. Traeger also manufactures the Renegade Pro Grill, and this one only has a cooking surface area of 380 inches. Traeger also puts out a range of portable wood-pellet grills, and these have 300-inch cooking surface areas.

Winer: Tied

As far as cooking area is concerned, neither grill is superior over the other. Z Grill definitely has a wider variety of cooking surface area sizes, and the 1000-inch Z Grill is probably the best grill for somebody who’s cooking for a lot of people often. Traeger has some good grills for individual grillers, and their portable pellet grills are ideal for individuals who want to take the pellet grill goodness on the road.

Z Grill vs. Traeger: Hopper Capacity

For pellet grills, hopper capacity is important, yet this is often overlooked by those who are selecting a pellet grill to purchase. You don’t want to be refilling your system’s hopper all the time, right? After all, smoking food can take as long as 12 hours sometimes.

Generally speaking, most pellet grills burn between one and two pounds of wood in a single hour. If the temperature is raised, the wood will burn faster. Smoking at a low temperature, however, will reduce the burning rate significantly.

Z Grills have a variety of hopper sizes, with the smallest grill’s hopper being able to hold 10 pounds while the largest grill’s hopper can hold about 20 pounds. Most Traeger pellet grills, on the other hand, can hold about 18 pounds would, with the only exceptions being their portable grills which can hold eight pounds of wood.

Winner: Traeger

Since most Traeger grills can hold more wood than most Z Grills, it’s clear to see you won’t have to spend a lot of time refilling the hoppers if you own a Traeger grill. The one exception is the Z Grill which has a 1000-inch cooking surface area; this grill can hold 20 pounds of wood.

Z Grill vs. Traeger: Price

In the price department, Z Grills are much more affordable than Traeger grills, and this is because Z Grills are created with affordability in mind. And just because these grills are affordable doesn’t mean they don’t pack a punch.

You get a lot of cooking surface area per dollar when you buy a Z Grill. That’s not to say that Traegers aren’t fairly priced—they are! It’s just that Z Grills are more affordable.

Winner: Z Grill

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Related Questions

Which grill has the better warranty?

Z Grill and Traeger offer similar warranties for their products. Both manufacturers cover their grills for three years after purchase, and the fine print is largely the same for both warranties. Also, the three-year warranty is pretty standard for pellet grills.

Which grill is heavier?

Traeger grills are often heavier than Z Grills, in part because they employ more steel. However, both Z Grills and Traeger grills are light enough to make movement hassle-free.

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Matthew Mountain
Matthew Mountain

Matt loves everything DIY. He has been learning and practicing different trades since he was a kid, and he's often the first one called when a friend or family member needs a helping hand at home. Matt loves to work with wood and stone, and landscaping is by far his most favorite pastime.

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