Pellet grills, also known as pellet smokers, are heaven-sent for BBQ lovers because it combines what people loved with gas grills (convenience), traditional ovens (temperature control) and charcoal smokers (smoky flavor). Pellet grills are equipped with an electric temperature control panel that auto-feeds fuel to fire and regulate airflow, which results to consistent cooking temperature at all times. Some advanced models even have sensors and high-precision temp control.
Traeger (founded in 1985) has always been the most popular brand for pellet grills, offering both big and small smokers to fit any kind of budget, but newer and smaller company REC TEC (established in 2011) has been making an impact on the grilling community and for good reason.
Traeger or REC TEC
If you’re torn about which brand to choose for your pellet grill, let this guide help you decide based on the most common features you should consider:
Temperature Control and Functions
Traeger has been manufacturing grills for over 3 decades, which means they have a longer experience in producing quality grills. The company was even one of the first to equip its grill with a digital temperature control. Traeger grills’ temp control screen features red, bright numbers for better visibility even at night with a temp dial usually placed at the top of a grill’s lid. You won’t have any issues with Traeger grills maintaining temperature, except for its maximum temp range of 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
REC TEC came into the picture with the digital temp technology already in place. As such, the original grills they offered were built with their signature Smart Grill Technology designed to maintain temperature over longer periods. With this patented tech, users can adjust temperature in 5-degree increments. When it comes to temperature range, REC TEC grills can accommodate up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Does the REC TEC Work Video
As a sort-of newcomer in the field, REC TEC offers only two pellet grills – a smaller model with 341-square-inch (22″ x 15.5″) cooking area and a larger model that offers 702 square-inch (36″ x 19.5″) cooking space.
Unfortunately for REC TEC, Traeger has over 20 grills on its catalog. Its smallest pellet grill model has 300 square-inch cooking space, while its biggest model offers a whopping 1,300 square-inch area – that’s enough to cook 30 hotdogs, 20 burgers or six turkeys in one go.
If you’re planning to bring your pellet grill to tailgating events and other backyard parties (beyond your home), portability can be an important consideration. Fortunately, you don’t have to think about it too much, since both companies offer foldable, portable grills.
All Traeger grills come with carts that could be locked in place or removed for transport. REC TEC’s smaller pellet grill can be moved from one place to the next easily because of its folding legs.
Pellet Grill Products and Accessories
REC TEC’s two main pellet grills are:
REC TEC Mini Portable Wood Pellet Grill RT-300
REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill RT-680
Both are equipped with Smart Grill Technology™ controller, drip pan, auto-lighting feature, ability to adjust temperature in 5º increments from 180ºF to 550ºF, and Proprietary PID algorithm.
Traeger offers many pellet grill models, from the smaller, cart-like designs to the handsome models with dual door storage. Grills range from $449 to $1999, making Traeger a hands-down winner when it comes to product choices.
However, REC TEC provides customers with more customization options and accessories with your pellet grill order. You can add a searing kit, secondary interior shelf, extra bottom shelf, thermometers, wood pellets, sauces, rubs, and more. This is where REC TEC wins over Traeger, since Traeger doesn’t sell accessories, but stocks wood pellets, sauces, spices and rubs on their store.
Traeger has had plenty of customer service experience in its 30-year existence. They’re known to provide outstanding customer support, regardless if the problem is about a technical or refund issue. Plus, since third-party vendors carry Traeger grills locally, it is easier to deal with missing/broken parts, and refunds.
REC TEC’s customer support has been legendary. A pelletheads.com forum member shares the story of complaining about a REC TEC grill, and was given a business card of REC TEC’s owners themselves. Many REC TEC grill owners swear by this with some customers claiming that manager-level employees call customers back even on holidays. However, REC TEC still doesn’t have a dealer network.
Traeger and REC TEC are equally good choices for pellet grills. The grill models offered from both companies are portable with large cooking space to feed a village. The customer support and reputation of both REC TEC and Traeger are solid, which means there’s less chance of having future headaches if your grill breaks down.
However, when it comes to product offering, Traeger wins the round. The 20+ grill choices not only accommodates people with different grilling needs, but also give customers with different budgets a chance to choose the best pellet grill their money could buy.
There are two reasons why you might choose REC TECT. First, REC TEC grills use the Smart Grill Technology. In comparison, Traeger grills aren’t equipped with a similar technology (but they do have digital temp controls to maintain temperature levels consistent). Second, REC TEC has more accessories offered directly from their store. In fairness to Traeger, third-party companies have been manufacturing and selling Traeger-compatible accessories for years, so customers do have options for accessories.
Overall, Traeger gets higher points over REC TEC because of its dealer network, availability of pellet grills with dual-door storage, decades-long reputation, and wide range of product choices.
If you’re dying to smoke seafood, ribs, pulled pork, and other types of dish, but can’t decide between a REC TEC or Traeger pellet grill, we hoped this guide gave you some insight to both companies that offer solid grill products.
Traeger wins this pellet grill comparison, but ultimately, the choice depends on your needs, budget, and personal preference.