Camp Chef or Traeger, I am sure that plenty of people buying a new pellet smoker are faced with that choice.
Traeger is an icon in the world of BBQ at this point and everyone is perfectly familiar with this brand but from the moment the patent expired a lot of other brands have appeared on the market that are effectively getting the customers on their side.
One such brand is definitely Camp Chef, which comes with valuable features that you won’t find in Traeger grills.
Today I will make an objective comparison of both brands and give you my subjective choice of the winner in the Camp Chef vs Traeger competition. One thing is for sure, both brands offer pellet grills in the middle or upper price range which means they have a lot to offer to their future customers.
Camp Chef vs Traeger
Camp Chef – It is not a young brand at this point, but compared to Traeger there are many years of difference, especially when it comes to pellet smokers. Camp Chef focuses on products intended for cooking at camping grounds, in backyards and all the other types of outdoors. In its own environment the brand has earned complete renown among the customers after all those years and is famous for high quality equipment. What definitely deserves recognition is their models of pellet grills that have been significantly growing in popularity in recent years.
Traeger – Without a doubt an icon of not only pellet smokers but BBQ as a whole. Traeger is one of the few manufacturers that everyone in the United States knows even if they are not into BBQ. History of the brand dates back to 1985 when a company was created that one year later patented the pellet smoker and for over 20 years had a monopoly for this type of smoker. Traeger was great at developing and promoting this type of smoker, which makes it the most recognizable brand of pellet grills to this day.
Camp Chef – This one is actually a slightly higher price range, I would place it somewhere between the middle and upper ones. The price for a pellet smoker from camp chef close in size to a model from Traeger is very similar. That’s why I encourage you to read further into this article so that you can learn important differences between both brands.
Traeger – Depending on the series you pick, the price varies between the middle and upper price ranges. Being on the market for so many years as such a recognizable brand, the grills from Traeger cost a lot. Are they worth the price? Find out by reading the whole article.
Manufacturers like to brag about the temperatures their grills can reach, but you actually don’t need that much when smoking. Traeger and Camp Chef offer a similar temperature range but it is Camp Chef that comes with a separately sold sear box that can reach up to 900 degrees F of direct heat.
Both manufacturers took care of the basic elements such as handles or suitable wheels that make both models mobile enough. But if you need a typical small-sized mobile pellet smoker then you can only find it in the Traeger offer.
In both cases you can expect similarly sized pellets containers that are more than enough to meet everyone’s expectations. A full container in each model from both manufacturers is enough for over a dozen hours of smoking without having to refill. Such amount is sufficient, and a bigger container would only take more space.
Camp Chef – Side sear box is something that makes a pellet smoker from camp chef stand out among all the other competitive manufacturers. It is a pretty expensive gadget, but it will definitely come in handy when cooking. It gives plenty of opportunities, one of which is the ability to quickly sear the skin on the meat towards the end of smoking. On top of that, camp chef also comes with all the essential features that are up to today’s standards.
Traeger – The latest series has introduced a lot of new things not only in visuals but also the technology. Depending on the model you buy, you have several interesting programs to choose from, wifi and ability to plug in a probe. Besides the programs there is nothing extraordinary but you can certainly count on different features that are up to today’s technology and standard.
Quality of workmanship and materials
Camp Chef – Comparing both models in similar sizes and prices, I came to a conclusion that Camp Chef cares much more about details. The whole structure looks much better in my opinion than when it comes to the competitor. Personally I own a Camp Chef PG24 and after all that time I can say that the quality of workmanship is high-level.
Traeger – In terms of quality, I would place most models from Traeger between the upper and lower tier considering the competitors. For this kind of money you get a product of decent quality but one could expect a little more. It is nice to know that the latest series from Traeger are consequently raising the quality level.
Traeger and Camp Chef offer their customers three years of warranty. I have already discussed the topic in many other of my posts and I will also say it here. When buying a more expensive model from one of those manufacturers, I would expect a much better warranty than just the 3 year period.
Brand & Marketing
Camp Chef – The brand is renowned among those interacting with equipment suitable for camping or when cooking away from home. Camp chef has been present on the market for many years, but it only got into manufacturing pellet smokers after the Traeger patent had expired. Ever since then, the brand has earned renown among the BBQ community by manufacturing truly great grills at decent prices.
Traeger – The roots of this brand go back several decades, it is one of the most valued brands among the BBQ community. Traeger is responsible for creating and manufacturing the first pellet smoker, and then for promoting it. It is a sponsor at many prestigious BBQ competitions and during many important events. After so many years on the market they still sell the biggest amount of their grills.
Camp Chef – Sadly there isn’t a huge choice compared to competitive manufacturers. The offer only includes several universal sizes that should meet the expectations of most customers.
Traeger – The manufacturer has a few different series of grills in their offer, and each of them is available in different sizes. It gives a vast choice regardless of whether you need a small mobile pellet smoker or maybe a huge one to feed a lot of people.
In this regard the winner is definitely Camp Chef, which has a separately sold sear box in its offer. It is an expensive addition, but it’s certainly worth its price if you take smoking and grilling seriously. It makes it possible to get very hot direct heat in a short amount of time, which you won’t get with any of the Traeger models.
Traeger vs Camp Chef – Conclusion
Traeger is the most popular brand among pellet smokers but over time other manufacturers are getting better at establishing their position, one of them being Camp Chef. If you are driven by sentiment towards Traeger or popularity of this company, then I have to admit that the latest series has contributed a lot of good to their grill offer.
If you care more about the price to quality ratio than the brand itself, on the other hand, check out the Camp Chef offer. It is a brand that introduced a lot of new things to the world of pellet smokers in many regards. What is most important, however, is that they can create a malfunction-free and durable pellet smoker available at a decent price.
Who is the winner in my view, then?
Some time ago I was also faced with such decision and upon a thorough analysis of both manufacturers my choice was the Camp Chef brand.
I really liked the sear box ( sold separately ) and the ability to choose smoking or grilling with direct heat ( in newer models ). At first glance the quality of workmanship looked better. Today, after many months, I know that durability and reliability are another advantages of this brand.
If you’re interested in what models I have owned then it’s the first one – Camp Chef PG24, but having a lot of experience with this brand I decided to buy a Camp Chef Woodwind together with a sear box.
A pellet smoker from Traeger still makes it possible to prepare great BBQ and it’s nice to know that the latest series are introducing a lot of useful technologies and features.
In this comparison, however, the final criterion was quality and price to value ratio – in this regard I picked Camp Chef.