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Our Winner: Traeger TFB65LZBC Texas Elite 34 Series Wood Pellet Grill
For Convenience: Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill
When summer starts, you probably look forward to heading outside and doing some grilling. If you used the same grill for a few years or more though, you’ll likely find that it has a hard time coming up to temperature, that food keeps sticking to the grates and that the grill itself is a little wobbly. That is why we recommend taking a look at some of the top grilling and smoking products from Traeger and Weber.
Best Traeger Grills
Best Weber Grills
Comparing Traeger and Weber Products
Smoker vs. Grill
One thing you should consider is whether a grill or a smoker is better for your home. Weber makes smokers that have a bullet shape and are easy to move. The company also makes larger grills that will serve as the focal point to an outdoor kitchen as well as grills that you can take camping.
Traeger grills are best for those who like both smoking and grilling because its products can do both. The grills come with a hopper designed for holding wood pellets, an ash bucket that collects all the ash and controls that let you precisely measure the temperature in the same way you would on your kitchen oven.
It’s important that you factor in the type of heat source that you want to use. Many people know Weber for its charcoal smokers and grills that can impart a lot of flavor into meats and vegetables. Weber also makes grills in various sizes that work with liquid propane.
All Traeger products use natural hardwood, but you can only use hardwood pellets. If you attempt to use larger pieces of wood, you may break the smoker. Pellets come in different flavors that you can taste in every bite.
Smoking a rack of ribs can easily take a few hours, which is why you want to look at the run time of each model. Traeger grills work as smokers and come with large hoppers that can hold more than enough wood pellets for smoking a dish all night long. With Weber products, you may need to add more charcoal to smoke a larger cut of meat.
Ease of Use
The best thing about a Weber propane grill is that you can flip a switch, light the pilot and adjust the flame size and gas level as needed. Though you may think that smokers are harder to use, Traeger smokers come with electronic ignition switches that work in the same way. Both companies include dials that let you change the temperature too, though adjusting the temperature is harder on a Weber charcoal smoker.
Top Traeger Products
Whether you love chowing down on ribs where the meat literally falls right off the bone, or you like the smoky flavor that hickory gives to roasted chicken, you can experiment with all your favorite cuts and types of meat as well as wood types with this Traeger TFB65LZBC Texas Elite 34 Series Wood Pellet Grill. With the name elite used in the title, you know that this grill and smoker combo is the ultimate option for most homes. Its 646-square inches of grilling space gives you room for whole pieces of fish and poultry.
Though it has an electronic ignition for more easily turning it on, this grill does not need any other power source. It can burn through the wood pellets and produce more than enough smoke for cooking through larger cuts of meat. It also comes with an ash bucket and porcelain-coated cooking grates.
Create the perfect place for entertaining in any small space with this Traeger TFB42LZBO Lil’ Tex Elite Grill, which has wheels on two of its legs for moving to a new location on your patio or anywhere else around your home. Though this is the Lil’ Tex, don’t assume that it’s too small for your family. Lifting the lid will reveal porcelain-coated cooking grates inside as well as more than 410-square inches of grilling space.
Using the Lil’ Tex is just as easy as using your oven because you can use the temperature dial to adjust the heat to a specific temperature and view that temp on the digital screen. A long tube on the top helps the steam and smoke escape as needed, and an ash bucket holds the ash that comes out of the grill to make clean up easier.
Do you find yourself sticking to sandwiches and simple snacks when tailgating because your grill is too big to take with you? Traeger created the Traeger Tailgater 20 Series Freestanding Grill specifically for those who want to grill in parking lots, stadiums and other outdoor spaces. With a 300-square inch grilling area inside, this grill lets you churn out all the burgers that your group needs and create dishes to share with other fans too.
This grill really is a set it and forget it model. Once you add wood pellets to the hopper, you flip the electronic ignition switch to power on the grill, select the temperature that you want, toss food on the grates and close the lid. This grill even has two wheeled legs and two other legs that fold up for carrying.
Whether you’re off on a hunting trip, a camping adventure or just a day at the stadium, the Traeger TFB29LZA Junior Elite Grill is a grill that you can take with you for grilling and smoking your favorite dishes. Designed with portability in mind, this grill has two legs with wheels on the base that you let you push the grill, and the other two legs actually fold up to reduce the amount of space needed to store the grill. With a wood hopper and a digital temperature control, this grill makes it easy to grill meats and vegetables quickly or smoke ingredients for longer periods.
The 300-square inches of grilling space underneath the lid holds up to 12 hamburgers, but you will also have enough space for 18 sausage links or hot dogs or three full pork or beef rib racks.
Most Traeger grills have a similar look that includes four legs on the bottom, a hopper and temperature control on the side and a bronze lid on top, but this Traeger TFT17LLA PTG+ Wood Pellet Grill has a completely different design. This grill looks more like a small metal box than a grill, but it has a coated grate inside that keeps heat circulating around your food. Traeger created this as a convection grill that raises smoke from the base to evenly cook foods.
Compatible with any 110V outlet, this is a smoker that you can use right on your porch or in the middle of your kitchen for safe smoking indoors. It has a shut down cycle that you can turn on once you finish smoking to let air circulate around inside to remove any excess ash before the grill shuts itself down.
Top Weber Products
1. Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill
The Weber 14401001 Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill has the same design found on the very first grills the company made and is perfect for those who like the flavor of charcoal. This grill comes with an attached stand that has a tripod design with two wheeled legs and one flat leg for extra stability. Nylon handles on the side stay cool to move the grill while in use, and the handle on the lid uses the same nylon to stay cool as you cook.
An aluminum ash catcher inside collects the ash as the charcoal burns and works as part of the Weber one-touch cleaning process to help you clean the grill faster after cooking. The 22-inch grill has 363-square inches of grilling space on a plated grill. You can hang the cleaning and cooking tools that you use most often from hooks located right on the handles.
If the Genesis II is a little too pricey for your budget or a little too large for your home, you might prefer the Weber 46510001 Spirit E310 Liquid Propane Gas Grill. The Spirit has three temperature control knobs on the outside that correspond to three cooking surfaces inside, and a heavy-duty metal grate fits right over all those burners. You can use those knobs to cook three different types of foods at three different temperatures.
Just above the cooking grate is a warming grate that will hold cooked food until guests want to eat. The work tables located on each side of the grill are just the right size for holding tools, condiments or sauces. When you open the door on the bottom, you’ll find hidden space for your propane tank as well as a drip pan that catches liquids that drip through the grill.
If you think that all charcoal grills look the same, you might feel shocked when you see the Weber 15501001 Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill. This grill comes with its own stand that also acts like a cart for taking the food and the party with you. The cart offers a large prep area on the top and storage underneath as well as two small and two large wheels.
The 22-inch grill itself fits down inside the car and has a built-in thermometer on the lid for checking the temperature inside. It has a countdown timer that actually counts down to the end of your cooking cycle and a one-touch cleaning system that collects all the charcoal ash. The grill comes with a two-part grate system and is compatible with Gourmet BBQ System products from Weber.
Though most Weber products are more suitable for grilling than smoking, this Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 18-Inch Charcoal Smoker uses charcoal to perfectly smoke and cook meats as well as other foods. Designed to resemble a large bullet, this smoker has a bowl in the bottom that holds the smoldering charcoal, and holes around the sides help all the smoke from that charcoal come out and climb up the sides. It comes with a bowl that underneath the food to catch juices and other liquids and to keep that moisture away from the charcoal.
You also get a built-in thermometer for checking the temperature inside, a water pan that increases the moisture inside the smoker and two cooking grates with a nickel plating over the metal. You can use both grates or just one grate depending on the size of your food.
When designing an outdoor kitchen that you’ll use when entertaining guests, one of the best grills that you can get is this Weber 62020001 Genesis II E-410 Liquid Propane Grill. While it won’t let you smoke, it will let you make the type of dishes that have guests lining up for a taste. The Genesis II has four stainless-steel burners inside that correspond to dials on the outside that let you adjust the temperature while keeping the lid closed.
A 198-square inch rack at the top, which Weber calls its Tuck-Away rack, acts like a warming rack to keep foods warm without drying out or overcooking those foods. A stainless-steel work table on one side is the perfect size for keeping sauces and other ingredients nearby, and the table has hanging hooks too. You’ll love the extra storage provided by the bottom shelf also.
Traeger or Weber: Who Wins?
In a competition between Traeger and Weber, Traeger will almost always win. The charcoal smokers from Weber often impart a strong flavor that completely overpowers the meat, but the hardwood pellets that Traeger smokers use will impart a much more subtle flavor. Traeger also gives you the choice of smoking or grilling.