If you want to entertain all of your friends and family when they come around then there is no better way than having a grill. You can set them up on your patio, decking, heck even your front lawn! While grilled food tastes nice, if you want to wow them, you are going to have to get a smoker. Smokers can be electric, gas or use pellets and this imparts lots of extra flavor into your meats. It also makes delicious tasting vegetables and anything else you may want to cook.
Traeger is one of the leading manufacturers of grills that also have a smoker function. Having a combined grill and smokers gives you the best of both worlds - juicy and tender meats filled with smoked flavor. A combo smoker is perfect for all levels of cooking experience as they are pretty easy to use.
The Top Traeger Smoker Grills
The Traeger Texas Elite 34 is a mean machine! With its auto start ignition, it gets up to temperature really fast. Your pellets are literally smoking within minutes! Great if you are like me - when you want your food, you want it NOW!
The TFB65LZBC Texas Elite has one of the biggest grilling areas on the markets. In fact, it is down right huge! Underneath the beautifully designed hood, there is over 600 square inches of grilling space. This area is broken down into racks that let you cook right in the heat, but also keep food warm without burning. So what does this actually mean? It means that your friends and family won't be hanging around waiting for that delicious steak you promised them. Also worth a mention is the wheeled base that can be removed if you want to use it on your own table.
Overall this just a great grill. There isn't really any downsides apart from it being big. But like I explained above, having this area also has its benefits.
You may be mistaken for thinking that the Lil’Tex Elite Grill looks exactly like the Texas Elite above. And you would be right, the only difference is the size (it's hard to show size on a website). Trying to find a grill that is large enough to cope but small enough to fit in your yard can be quite difficult. Some are so big they end up taking over your garden and some are so small that you have to cook individual pieces of meat.
The Lil'Tex Grill is just right for most users. The grilling area is 20 inches long by 20 inches wide giving you a nice area size of 400 square inches. This is enough to keep pumping out the food, but making sure what's cooked is keep warm. It's great having this nice area, but unless you can keep the heat throughout then it's a waste. Luckily the pellet hooper and fire box work really well on this one. They keep a constant stream of pellets moving through the grill to create plenty of smoke and a nice heat.
Unlike some smokers that have some kind of thermostat on the outside that you need to constantly keep checking to ensure the optimal cooking temperature, the Lil'Tex Grill has a great temperature control dial that does a good job of maintaining the perfect heat for smoking and grilling.
You can read our full review of the Traeger Junior Elite Pellet Grill here!
This Traeger grill is a little different to their other models, but I thought it should be included in this guide. Most are pretty large in size and are housed in a stand or cart. However the PTG is houses in it's own nifty little case with digital dial at the front.
The Traeger 15" PTG+ Portable is designed to let you smoke and grill literally anywhere. It has a carry handled and would suit those who maybe live alone or only grill their food now and again. It's also pretty cool turning up to a party with one of these - you are instantly everyone best friend.
Even though it is small, it has a decent size pellet hooper. It's so big actually that once you fill it, you can kick back and relax without worrying about it running low. It also have a very nice shut down cycle that takes just 10 minutes. It's better than most smoker shut down cycles in that it actually removes some of the ash inside, making cleaning a lot easier.
Overall, this smoker is perfect for the occasional user. As you would expect it is much cheaper than the larger models, but it still has most of the same great features.
What you need to know about traeger and yoder
The first thing you need to know when looking at these smokers is where you can buy them from - and more importantly, the cheapest. We have all come to rely on Amazon for finding the cheapest products, but strangely the Yoder Smokers are not listed. You can only buy them from select retailers and the official site. They could be doing this for a number of reasons, but the one that jumps out immediately is transparency. Controlling where the product is listed makes it much harder to find unbiased reviews and a complete overview of all the information you need to make a purchasing decision.
Thankfully Traeger is listed on Amazon and their smokers have hundreds of reviews. These reviews are from actual customers who have bought the product so they are unbiased. There is also a very hand "Questions" section which is kinda like a giant FAQ based on replies from owners. The other advantage of buying a smoker combo on Amazon is that there are often online deals and special offers.
Overall, because they are selling their products through a lore more sources, Traeger has more name / brand recognition. They are also the easiest to buy so have to win this section.
Comparing Traeger and Yoder on cost is like comparing apples and houses - there is no comparison. Traeger has positioned itself as an affordable quality brand, while Yoder has positioned itself as an expensive luxury brand.
The difference in price is massive - the cheapest grills from Yoder cost $900+ which is more than even more expensive Traeger model.
Overall, it's fair to say that Traeger win this section hands down.
So we know that Yoders are wayyy more expensive but that's because the quality is much higher. It's no coincidence that die-hard smoking fans purchase Yoder smokers - they have some amazing features. Most smoking competitions are won by a Yoder model. Some models even come with their own trailer!
While Traeger smokers probably won't win you a first place at a competition, it will help you make delicious tasting food. It's aimed more at the traditional home user who enjoys entertaining friends and family. Also you don't need a trailer to get it around !
Overall the Yoder takes this section, however you are looking at spending thousands and thousands! If you want a quality home smoker then Traeger is the obvious choice.
Traeger or Yoder: Who Wins?
After taking everything above into consideration, it's an easy win - Traeger! Even though Yoder make some amazing and beautiful smokers, they are super expensive. They are also limited to where you can actually purchase one, meaning that finding unbiased reviews is hard. The Traeger's on the other hand are much more affordable, can be purchased almost everywhere and produce amazing food. If you are looking for a smoker of similar price then Bradley make some great models. You can read our full reviews of their top 5 smokers here.