There are several different REC TEC pellet grills on the market and choosing the best one for you can be difficult.
This guide reviews the most popular models, takes you through the differences and highlights the pros and cons of each.
By the end you should be ready to pull the trigger and treat yourself to an amazing new grill.
REC TEC Pellet Grills: A short Summary
Purchasing a REC TEC grill used to boil down to two factors: Budget and Capacity. With the introduction of so many new grills (and a couple of retirements), there’s a lot more to consider.
Since we aren’t comparing brand to brand here, we won’t rank the grills as “good, better, best,” but rather based on size.
Except the Bullseye (more on that later) they all employ the Smart Grill Technology to deliver consistent cooks, so your choice in REC TEC grills really just boils down to capacity, price, and portability.
REC TEC’s line resembles that of an auto-maker. See below for options:
REC TEC Grill Comparison
702 Sq. In
592 Sq. In
340 Sq. In
380 Sq. In
Every feature imaginable
"The RT-700 is the pinnacle of smoking. It has every feature you could imagine. If you can stretch the budget, we highly recommend it."
For many years, REC TEC’s 680 model was the standard by which other pellet smokers were judged. Superior build quality, outstanding customer service, and innovative technology made it the best in the market.
REC TEC has retired the 680 with the release of the new RT-700 which builds upon the 680’s success with several new features while playing in roughly the same size category.
The Bull features a stainless-steel barrel body, so you will never have to worry about the paint on your grill ever cracking or peeling.
While most other grills use a dial button, REC TECs come with a patented Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) controller on top of a state of the art, custom-made touchpad. Just set your desired temperature on the touchpad and watch it work.
REC TEC RT-700 PID Controller
The PID makes constant adjustments to pellet feed rate to compensate for weather variables, opening/closing of the lid, and unexpected temperature variations. No pellet grill maintains a more constant temperature than the REC TEC PID controller.
A new feature on the Bull is the new Wi-Pellet Wi-Fi technology. This technology lets you control your cook remotely using the REC TEC app available from Apple or Android.
Monitor grill temperature, meat temperature, and make temperature adjustments all from your smartphone.
The grill comes with two meat probes that integrate into the controller to relay information back to your app.
It’s the most expensive REC TEC model, but also the biggest with up to 1054 sq. inches of cooking space and a 40 pound pellet-hopper. It also comes with REC TEC’s standard, industry leading six-year warranty.
Massive cooking space
This is like the Ferrari of pellet grills. Sure it is will cost you a little more than most other pellet grills, but the build quality and features means it will probably last you a lifetime - and put a MASSIVE smile on your face.
Fire Food Chef Rating:
The official Rec Tec RT-700 Bull video
Same great features, smaller size
"The RT-590 offers all of the same great features as the Bull - but in a cheaper, compact model"
The Stampede offers all the features of the Bull in a more compact, more economical package.
While the Bull offers enough cooking surface for 3-4 full size packer briskets at a time, most of us don’t need that type of capacity on a typical summer weekend. Enter: The REC TEC Stampede.
With a cooking capacity that caps out at 772 sq. inches, and a 30 pound pellet hopper, the Stampede is a little more in line with your typical backyard cooker when it comes to size.
772 sq. inches cooking space
REC TEC advertises it to hold 5 large racks of ribs – more than enough for your average family and plenty to feed a small crowd.
Although REC TEC pulled back on the size a bit with the Stampede, they did not sacrifice any quality.
Built from the same high quality stainless steel as the Bull, it also still includes the exact same state of the art PID and Wifi controller.
REC TEC RT-340 PID Controller
It’s a little more mobile, but it’s still going to live on the back porch instead of the RV.
Other than size, the only other sacrifice on this model is the warranty. REC TEC caps the warranty for the Stampede at a still generous 2 years.
If you want all the features of the Bull, but don't quite need the massive cooking space, then the Stampede is perfect. Like the Bull, this is in the 'super car' category of the pellet grill world.
Fire Food Chef Rating:
The official Rec Tec RT-590 video
Durable, portable and ready to go
"The RT-340 is the ultimate portable smoker. Perfect for taking all the luxuries you're used to on the road."
Another victim of the new REC TEC line is the “Mini,” which is being retired and replaced by the Trailblazer.
Like the Bull and the 680, however, this new model takes one of the best in the industry and makes it even better.
Amazing Stainless Steel build
The Trailblazer is the ultimate portable wood pellet grill, with folding legs that allow you to use it on the back porch, then take it on the go and use it as a table-top smoker as well.
For a portable smoker, size is king, of course. The Trailblazer has three stainless steel handles that help with transportation.
It weighs in at 80 pounds, which is a bit on the high side compared to gas or charcoal equivalents.
Once you get it to its destination, however, you are once again cooking with real wood, the ease and convenience of a pellet smoker, and the quality of a REC TEC.
The Trailblazer features up to 511 sq. inches of cooking surface, a stainless steel body, and includes the exact same same state of the art PID and Wifi controller as its big brothers.
511 sq. inches cooking space
Fire this thing up at your next tailgate and monitor your food and grill temperature from your phone while you toss the football with friends.
Take it to your next camping trip and stay connected while you’re on a hike (as long as you have cell service!). Gas and charcoal grills may be a little lighter, but none can offer that type of convenience.
If you are looking a portable grill, but don't want to skimp on quality and convenience, then the Trailblazer is for you. It's certainly not the cheapest portable grill, but we guarantee, it will last you a lifetime.
Fire Food Chef Rating:
The official Rec Tec RT-340 video
Convenience of gas, taste of charcoal
"The RT-B380 is one of the cheapest REC TEC models, but offers some unique features not found in the more expensive units."
At the low-end of the REC TEC grill cost spectrum is the Bullseye, but it is anything but a low-end product.
Yes, the Bullseye lacks a stainless steel body.
Yes the Bullseye lacks the REC TEC standard state of the art PID controller.
What the Bullseye is instead, is a one of a kind wood pellet grill more versatile than anything on the market.
Overview of the great Bullseye features
Its shape is not the only thing the Bullseye shares with a charcoal kettle grill. Flip on the switch and turn the dial to full on the Bullseye and watch it climb to temperatures north of 600 degrees in 15 minutes flat.
Owners love to post pictures of infrared temperature readings of the grill grates in excess of 800 degrees. No other wood pellet grill on the market can boast that type of searing ability.
A pure wood fire, concealed underneath a heat deflector to minimize flare-ups and evenly distribute heat.
It's great that the Bullseye is able to sear at high heat, right? But it gets better.
At the other end of the dial are temperatures as low as 200 degrees, making the Bullseye capable of low and slow as well as hot and fast, all over a wood pellet fire. It can even be used with the lid open.
Can be used with the lid open
The temperature control on the Bullseye is not as consistent as the rest of the REC TEC family.
There are swings, and it requires some babysitting to control, but its versatility is unlike anything the rest of the grills can do.
It’s the perfect compliment to one of the other REC TEC grills, or great as a stand-alone model on a budget.
At any price point, it’s hard to do better than the Bullseye to achieve both the convenience of gas and the flavor of wood.
REC TEC hit the nail on the head (bullseye?) with this one.
You may not get all of the connivence you would with the other REC TEC models. But what you do get is amazing build quality, convenience and versatility all in one reasonably priced unit.
Fire Food Chef Rating:
The official Rec Tec Bullseye video
Our REC TEC Buyers Guide
REC TEC may not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of wood pellet smokers.
They don’t have infomercials on cable TV.
They aren’t for sale in your local Costco.
However, REC TEC is an absolute force to be reckoned with in the pellet grill world, with some of the highest quality grills on the market.
Their Smart Grill Technology that maintains temperature with more precision than the competition
Plus their unmatched warranty, and customer service is unrivalled in market.
Pellet smokers are great for the backyard pitmaster who has better things to do than tend a fire, taking all the guess work out of maintaining temperature.
And none does it better than REC TEC’s PID controller with Smart Grill Technology.
REC TEC has recently updated their line of grills with size options to suit almost any need, warranting a re-vamp of the line review here at Fire Food Chef!
The beautiful new RT-700 Bull
Hopefully after reading each of the reviews above, you already know which REC TEC model is right for you. We are now going to give you more information about REC TEC in general and their amazing customer service.
How does an REC TEC work?
Well the answer is pretty simple… They’re super simple!
On any of the grills, just fire it up, set a temperature, and watch the REC TEC do its thing.
For the big three, the PID controller will show you a digital readout of the temperature inside the grill.
The Bullseye has a dial in the lid to see temperature. All the grills employ a convection fan to distribute the heat and help fuel the fire.
Wood pellet grills truly are the best thing to happen to the casual backyard smoker, but REC TECs are so consistent that they’re popular on the competition circuit as well.
Ease of assembly, even heat and cooking, economical use of pellets, great wood fired food taste, and phenomenal customer service set REC TEC apart from their competitors.
Amazing REC TEC customer service
REC TEC has unmatched service, so much so that it warrants its own section in the review.
REC TEC sends a card with every grill purchase that includes not only their standard customer service number, but also an after-hours number, and the personal cell phone numbers of several individuals, including founder Ray Carnes.
Spend a few minutes browsing the Facebook page of REC TEC grill owners, and you’ll quickly find stories of Ray personally returning service calls on Christmas morning to troubleshoot an issue.
He and his team also chime in frequently on that page with advice, cooking tips, troubleshooting, and solutions. You simply won’t get that with any other grill manufacturer.
I don't know about you, but we think this is pretty spectacular.
Frequently Asked Questions
How even is the heat distribution?
The simple answer is very even. The Mini and the RT-680 use a patented PID algorithm to keep the temperature even across the cooking area, and second, the RTD keeps track of the temperature to ensure it’s correct. Over and above that, the grill comes with a heat deflector built into its fire pot, and a blower fan that keeps hot spots away and the drip pan makes sure there aren’t any flare ups.
How does my food taste?
Finger lickin’ good. Food grilled or smoked always tastes better, and some say the pellet smoked food tastes better than that cooked with charcoal. Another handy tip I’m more than happy to share with you is that, like with all grills, the secret to great tasting food lies in the preparation of the grill. Before you cook, preheat the grill to between 400 and 500 F for 10 minutes and it then it should be good to go. If you want to smoke something, then bring the temperature down to 180 – 220 F, allowing you to slow cook for as long as you like.
Can I use other makes of pellets?
Sure you can but always check the quality first. Substandard pellets can lead to ash accumulation inside the fire pot and if this happens, it’s going to affect the grill’s ability to reach high temperatures or stabilize at low temperatures. In other words, the performance of your REC TEC will be compromised. I suggest if you’re going to use different types of pellets, test them first in a bag and see how they do. Doing it this way won’t cause any damage to the grill and it won’t affect your warranty.
However, it’s important that you never use genuine mesquite wood pellets because they lead to excess accumulation of sand.
Is cleaning easy?
You can bet your brisket it is. Both the models are easy to clean because of the grill. Both come with drip pans, which if covered with aluminum foil, mean you simply give it a wipe down.
Can I use my REC TEC in any weather?
Absolutely! The excellent quality and workmanship ensures no heat escapes from the grill and no cold air can get in. I suggest ordering the cover, just for added protection, ensuring your REC TEC is looking bad a$$ all of the time.
REC TEC Grills Warranty
The limited warranty on REC TEC grills covers only grills manufactured by REC TEC Industries, LLC (RTI). They carry a limited warranty of 6 years from the date of purchase by only the original owner. It applies to defects in workmanship and materials that may arise from normal day to day use. It, however, does not cover damages from corrosion, grill cover, or paint.
Some of the conditions of the limited warranty are:
- The obligation of Rec Tec is limited to replacement and repair of the defective parts, and won’t be liable any cost associated with shipping.
- It doesn’t cover rust or oxidation.
- It is based on residential use, hence won’t apply for products used for commercial purposes.
- If the claim is made between the 4th and the 6th year, the owner is subject to a one-time fee of $99.00
- The warranty doesn’t apply if you purchased the product from any other seller other than RTI, or an authorized distributor.
- It doesn’t apply if your product hasn’t been installed, operated, maintained, and cleaned as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you want the warranty service, you can contact RTI, with the accurate description of the problem, and have information on where and when you purchased your unit.
REC TEC Grills accessories
REC TEC grills allow you to attach and/or use the following accessories. Some of them can be used for all REC TEC grills, while others only fit specific models.
All-weather smoke vents.
On this list, these smoke vents can only be used for the Trailblazer. It, however, fits all other RT-300 models, namely, Stampede and Mini. They keep your grill resistant to all weather elements.
- Stylized design redirects smoke and keeps interior chamber dry
- Easily installed (no hardware required)
- Detachable for easy cleaning
The bottom shelf allows you to keep your items off the ground by offering you a convenient storage area. It slides over your leg brackets to simplify removal when you fold them upwards.
The competition cart is very handy as it allows for maximum portability and maneuverability while giving your REC TEC a more robust appearance. If you are tall, the competition cart will simplify things as it tends to raise the height of your cooking surface.
The REC TEC competition cart
Additionally, it has an eye-catching appearance, making it an ideal complement to your REC TEC grill.
Porcelain Lid and Stainless Steel Smoke Stack Cap
The stainless steel cap in rust-resistant, and the new lid fits RT-700 discussed above and RT-680.
- Improved durability
- Scratch resistant
- Fade resistant and maintains its gloss.
Stainless Steel Smoke Stack Cap
- 304 Stainless Steel construction.
- Rust resistant
- Warp resistant
Searing Kit for RT-B380 Bullseye
These three interlocking panels are a perfect fit for the Bullseye.
- Prevents flames from burning, charring, and drying out food
- Heat is concentrated on the raised rails leaving beautiful sear marks
- Hard anodized aluminum heats food evenly
- Moisture vaporized on the grates, surround food in a flavorful steam bath
Larger, second shelf
It is compatible with RT-700 and RT-680.
- Increases internal cooking area
- Expanded metal grate allows air to pass through while maintaining a sturdy and rigid surface
- Has a brushed stainless steel finish.
Premium Grill Pad, 60"x 30"
- Is compatible with RT-680, 700, and 590.
- Stops any drips and spills from staining your deck.
- Has an easy to clean, rubberized texture.
HOTFLASH Ceramic Ignition System
It is compatible with all the Rec Tecs on this list except the Matador.
- Up to 1,800℉ to create a fire within minutes
- Integrated ignitor shroud
- Includes hotflash ceramic ignitor rod
- Fits most REC TEC Models
- More reliable than outdated steel ignitor cartridges
Smoker Box for RT-680 & RT-700 (Bull)
To install the smoker box, you will only need to attach it using the remaining hole on your RT-700. It gives you the ability to smoke jerky, sauce, fish, spices, condiments, and even cheese. You can also use it as a warming area at the end of your cook to keep on smoking until it is time to eat.
Other accessories include:
- Custom grill cover.
- Polisher and cleaner
- Remote thermometer
- Smoke tubes.
- Cooking mat.
REC TEC Grills complaints
Every buck you spend on a REC TEC grill packs the biggest bang in terms of quality and value. You get all you paid for and more.
According to the many reviews on the company website and other forums, REC TEC products have almost zero downsides. From the moment you order yours, everything runs on smoothly. You get a well-packaged product that arrives even before your email settles in your inbox. Using them is a breeze as all the units come with a handy user manual.
Additionally, the customer service offered by the company is excellent and very responsive.
The only downside associated with some of the models is that assembly and setting them up is not as simple as advertised. It may require additional help.
REC TEC Grills mods
REC TEC Grills allow so many modifications that you almost fully customize it. Some people have modified theirs so much that it wouldn’t be right to call them Rec Tecs anymore. Some of these modifications are listed below.
- Nomex grill & hopper lid seal
- Downdraft hood
- 2 rpm auger drive assembly
- 9 hole firepot
- Folding front shelf
- Dome Thermometer
- Interior Grill Rack
- Roanoke PID controller w/meat probe
- Sawtooth controller
- Wheel upgrades (Bigger, Locking, Directional) Just depends on what you need
- Custom Painted lid and cap
- Custom internal 2nd shelf's
- Flipping the bottom shelf providing an edge to keep items from falling off
- Fire bricks to help retain heat.
A hole can be drilled in the controller housing to accommodate the meat probe jack. On top of that, you can remove the smokestack if you want to increase the airflow when the downdraft hood is installed.
REC TEC Grills location
REC TEC grew from making sales from a garage to a full production and retail location in Augusta, Georgia. They currently sell grills directly to customers all over the United States.
Hopefully, this comparison guide has helped you decide which REC TEC grill is right for you.
Bottom line, REC TEC grills are an industry leader in quality, consistency, customer service, and results.
They’ve always been a favorite here at Fire Food Chef, and the new line has taken them up yet another notch.
Quality for quality, REC TEC grills are worth the investment. You won’t be disappointed in any of their models!
Keep an eye out for my follow-up piece on REC TEC accessories, coming soon!
If you have finished this review and the REC TEC isn't right for you, then we would suggest checking out our Bradley Smoker guide and also our Best Pellet Smoker guide - we are sure that you will be able to find the right smoker for you there.