Opinions on best buy pellet smokers

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers' started by fire in the hole, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. I am in the market for an upgrade. I've been grilling........and some smoking on my weber grill for many years. But have heard about treager and yoder smoker/grills.

    Does anyone have 1st hand experience with both cookers??? Which in your opinion is the best????


  2. tweaked

    tweaked Fire Starter

    My close friend has a Traeger and wishes he saved a few more bucks and got the Yoder. Much better build quality and thicker steel for better heat retention. Traeger is more of a big box store smoker while the Yoder is custom IMO. 
  3. westby

    westby Smoking Fanatic

    This isn't even close - Traeger is on the entry level side of the pellet grill market.  Yoder is closer to the top end (but probably not quite the cream of the crop).  There are many options in between these two as well, but if it is only between these two - Yoder for sure - no doubt - don't give it a second thought.
  4. Someplace in the far distant past, memory serves me that yoder was perfered of the 2 smokers. I hope I end up with the yoder.

    Thanks for the replies.

  5. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hi Gary,

    Agree with others that, from purely a quality standpoint, the Yoder surpasses the Traeger by far.  However, it could be argued that from a "bang for your buck" standpoint, the Traeger may be a better bargain.  You could purchase a new Traeger for a fraction of the cost of a new Yoder, and still put out delicious smoked and grilled food.  

  6. yahoot

    yahoot Newbie

    As far as bang for the buck, you might want to take a look at Louisiana Smokers / Danson.

    It uses a  side burn design similar to Yoder.

    When I first started with pellet smokers, I was ready to buy a Traeger as a "starter unit".  Then I went to an industry show to meet the Traeger guys (we had been talking for a while remotely) and they were going to sell me a display model at a big discount. When I got there, I saw the LS and Traeger (and some others) being demoed within a few yards of each other. After a day of watching and talking, I got an LS (actually, we got two).

    LS is much better built, heavier gauge, made in the US. I REALLY like the side burn design(no auger fires, no babying the auger). The team who supports products is great (I have picked up the phone and talked directly with their engineering team). LS isn't perfect, but IMHO it is far superior to the Traeger. Traeger seems to be much more interested in becoming the highest volume supplier - not the supplier of the best products (my opinion). I still talk to LS and Traeger (and others) at least once a year at industry events, but I still prefer LS.

    Since I got my LS, we have had a parade of other smokers come through - an IPT (built like a tank, excellent controller but sadly, out of business) and a collection of everything from home builts to electrics, but for day to day smoking, I keep going back to my LS.

    Another brand I also find interesting at the lower to mid segment of the market - Camp Chef. Really innovative, been making pellet poopers only a few years but have been making outdoor cooking appliances for decades. They use a bottom auger/center burn design (kind of like traeger), but they have some really innovative ideas. I love the feature that allows you to dump the ashes from burn pot without disassembling the grill. I think you can also use it to dump the fire (not sure that is officially sanctioned) so you can shut down without worrying about it burning back up the auger (or having to unload pellets).
  7. I own a Traeger and do no do not purchase one. Mine doesn't maintain temperature and the swings are as great as 70 degrees. Yes, customer service states that it could be the pellets, a dirty fire pot, not starting correctly. Well this can't be bought brand new pellets and from September 2015 until now even with a new controller it still does the same thing. I've a friend that has the YODER YS640 competition and this thing will smokke, grill, bake ect.... just like the Traeger. There isn't any comparison for the bucks and bang for it, purchase the Yoder. Hope this helps. By the way I have the Traeger Texas pro.
  8. Do not give up on that grille yet, I also bought one, the lil texas pro, when you first start the grille, tuen it on high for 5 minutes, to get plenty of pellets in the pan, then turn down to smoke, and when you hear it ignite, shut the lid and preheat to the temp you want, you will find out that it will not maintain a temperature without some hot coals going in the pan, please try this, you will find out that it works great.
  9. pelletuser

    pelletuser Newbie


    I have had a Traeger lil' Texas for 6 years.  The first 2 months I had the temp prob go out.  Warranty covered it and were very helpful.  Earlier this year I had the hot rod go out and haven't replaced it yet.  I am getting +- 30 deg temp swings.  I am thinking about a new PID controller to help with those swings.  Other than that it has been very good to me.  People talk about thicker metal on the outside.  the Weber that you are using isn't very thick either 16ga.  The original idea of thick material was to control the pit temp for a stick burner. Going to thicker material will make it more rigid for sure but if you are concerned about temp swings a PID controller is what you should look for.  With that said I am completely sure about smoke flavor on the meat.  I was looking to upgrade to a PID myself. 

      If you are concerned about pellet use then a blanket will retain more heat than going from 16ga to 14ga in cold weather or windy conditions. 

      I have done jerky, burgers , chicken, pork butt, ribs, turkey.  All have turned out good and much better than the gaser I used to use.
  10. buckinducks

    buckinducks Smoke Blower

    If you do a lot of jerky , sausage, fish stuff you might want to have a lower temp I wouldn't recommend traeger. Smoke mode mine will hold out at 200• 225 mode for ribs etc I've seen the digital gauge go up 265.
    I would say it holds temp to good that's why the temps swings so high , it's programmed to feed pellets at a certain rate but the box doesn't cool off enough before it feeds more pellets.
    It cooks amazing food, smokey taste is really a minimal however. Only owned it for 2 months still getting used to it
  11. pelletuser

    pelletuser Newbie


    I would say 10% of my time is jerky or snack sticks.  Sometimes I go to 200.  Usually it is 160-190.  But then I am usually smoking in the spring/fall 40-50 deg weather.  I figure with a PID controller that will allow me to tighten the temp spread.  The only negative is mine only gets about 450 which for burgers is just ok.
  12. westby

    westby Smoking Fanatic

    I don't understand why anyone would buy a grill without PID and immediately change it out for a PID controller.  Buy a quality grill from the start.  I also firmly believe that a heavier duty construction helps in regards to grill life and heat retention / pellet use. 

    The best analogy I have is this:  What is being recommended is like putting a Hellcat engine in a Yugo.
  13. pelletuser

    pelletuser Newbie


      I wouldn't buy a new grill without a PID control either.  There are several grills that don't have a PID.  I know that everyone seems to like Yoder and they don't specifically say that they have a PID.  Maybe I missed it??
  14. krj

    krj Fire Starter

    Guy I used to work with has a Traeger and seems to love his, he's talked about getting a bigger model also. I will say, he has had my food out of my PBC and from an old offset my Grandpa build and he says he can't duplicate the results. I'm not saying you shouldn't get a pellet smoker, because I've looked into them and I'm interested. But I'm at a point where I don't really need one.
  15. if you partially fill the burn pan on high first, before you turn it to smoke, to start it, it will maintain a better temp, I don't feel I need a PID right now, but will keep open minded about it
  16. tweaked

    tweaked Fire Starter

    Look at the reviews etc. for the Don Godke Downdraft vent that can be added to the Traegers. Super consistent temps.
  17. westby

    westby Smoking Fanatic

    Yoder is confusing.  They don't call them PID controllers, but they are in the same ballpark.  I don't have one (I have a Rec Tec), but I have a buddy that has one and his temps are rock solid.  I've read other reviews from average Joes that state the same.  This is from an Amazingribs review:

    "It is a sophisticated, proprietary digital controller. Yoder asserts they are not PID controllers and not based on any off-the-shelf temperature controller of any sort. Yoder states they designed the board from scratch around a general purpose micro-controller chip and wrote their own code from the ground up in an attempt to provide superior flexibility, efficiency and accuracy."
  18. I just looked at that downdraft, it does look like that would work, but would like to hear from some people that have one
  19. pelletuser

    pelletuser Newbie

    Sounds like the put in a lot of work  from their stick burner experience and incorporated it into a pellet grill.  The PID I understand since I use it in other applications.
  20. tweaked

    tweaked Fire Starter


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