REC TEC vs. Traeger, which company has the best pellet grill?
Along with different materials used to manufacture a pellet grill, there are two other major factors that make two otherwise identical grills from different companies different: their features and their warranty policy.
This is the first topic I will be comparing the Traeger vs REC TEC Grills.
Here we will be talking about the feature part of our REC TEC vs Traeger discussion.
Out of the REC TEC vs Traeger grill comparison, this may be the most important thing to consider when choosing your grill.
Keep in mind, though, that there are some unique Traeger grill features, so let’s first do a quick overview of those. Then it’s time for the REC TEC vs Traeger deep dive to see which brand is best on features for the money.
REC TEC RT-700 overview
The REC TEC RT-700 is one of the mid range pellet grills in REC TEC’s grill lineup.
This grill comes equipped with a 725 square inch grilling surface as well as an additional 825 square inches of smoking surface.
It has a stainless steel cooking chamber as well as a stainless steel firebox.
REC TEC RT-700 contains a 36,000 BTU pellet grilling oven with dedicated side burner and WiFi capability.
REC Tec RT 700: 700 square inch cooking area.
700 square inch cooking area. 240 square inch grill area.
240 square inch grill area. Red , Green, and High temperature side burners with cast iron grill grates.
Green, and High temperature side burners with cast iron grill grates. Stainless steel construction .
Includes LED hood lights, 10 bottle capacity wineguard, two items in-grease are cast iron grill grates.
12V Deep cycle battery. Charger included
Wood Pellets: 20 lbs. Chips Pellets: 20 lbs.
Cooking heights: 8-294 and 25-450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dimensions: 62.5 x 34 x 25 inches
WEIGHT: 150.5 lbs.
Traeger Ironwood 650
The Traeger model has more room, more cooking space with a higher cooking temperature and a larger hopper capacity. It also has 3 rack positions.
The double-wall construction of the Traeger improves the temperature consistency, reduces heat loss, and increases the strength of the grill. The lid is constructed with stainless steel, to retain and reflect heat, and the grill itself is constructed out of stainless steel.
The Traeger process uses an indirect method of cooking. There is no need to turn the food in order to cook it evenly. This is a charcoal grill that has a temperature probe, and it is the most reliable part of the grill.
The Traeger Pellet grill is almost as complicated to use as it is to clean.
Ironwood 650 Specs
The Ironwood 650 has an 880 square inch grilling area. It weighs in at 125 pounds and has an included temperature probe for accurate internal grill temperature.
The mounting is spaced every inch that allows for the mounting of 2 rows of wood pellets, 2 rows of Traeger pellets, or other forms of smoking chips. The smoking tray is 12 inches by 17 inches.
It has a temperature range of between 150 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
REC TEC vs Traegar: Features head to head
So, are you looking for a specific feature? I didn’t want to show that, the point is to see who has what.
There are a few things that are different, but if you are looking at these two grills, then you are probably interested in an entry level grill.
Also, I want to preface this by saying that many of you will love your Traeger and you shouldn’t let bad reviews scare you away.
I have been wanting to include a grilling section in my blog for over a year. But the right product has always eluded me. Then, I got a call from someone at Traeger to do a review. I immediately said, “Yes!” But after doing some research and talking to more experienced grillers, I have to admit that I was a little concerned.
From what I had gathered from online reviews, the Traeger pellet grill had all the same features as a Rec Tec and then some. It came down to a matter of opinions in terms of company reputation, customer support, and design. When I started poking around Rec Tec reviews, the things that concerned me about Traeger’s reputation started to make sense.
The Traeger VS offers a 10-year warranty on its pellet grill.
The only things included in this warranty are parts.
If you can’t get the unit to work, you must pay for any repair and shipping costs.
The small size of the Traeger makes the warranty a bit easier to swallow. It is the least expensive pellet grill in the Traeger family, and so if it breaks, you’re less upset about the monetary loss.
The REC TEC has a Five-Year limited warranty and covers damage caused by fire, electrical shortages, pressure fluctuations, and other acts of nature.
It doesn’t cover the burn pot, motor, valves, igniters, or controllers. It does promise to replace any of these defective parts within a year for free.
The Traeger smoker automatically maintains a steady temperature. You can also control the temperature by pushing a +/- button.
There is also a temperature probe in the inner chamber that lets you check the temperature from your phone, tablet, or computer.
The Rec Tec Pellet grill also has a thermostat. However, the thermostat is mounted inside the cooking chamber. You can control the temperature by pressing a button.
The Rec Tec Pellet grill has more precise temperature control than the Traeger. But I have to admit that I was unable to consistently control the temperature (more about that below). The Traeger, on the other hand, has more consistent temperature control.
Pellet hopper capacity
Both the REC TEC and Traeger have a hopper diameter of 18 inches each. However, Traeger has a much larger hopper capacity than REC TEC, which means that Traeger gives customers more than five times the hopper capacity for the given size. Moreover, the hopper is located at the bottom of the Traeger Models. This increases pellet pick-up.
In contrast, the REC TEC grill has its hopper located on the side of the pellet smoker.
Hence REC TEC provides more compact design but offers less hopper capacity.
Air filters harbor a lot of contaminants, dirt, and pollen.
Even with a washable air filter, they can build up with unwanted gunk over time. Cleaning it out is a great way to maintain a clean and fresh smelling environment for your bike.
Depending on how you ride, a rarely cleaned air box may cause premature engine damage.
Dirty air filters work against the flow of air, making it a lot harder to push air through the engine. If the air filter can’t keep up with the engine’s intake, it can get choked and cause unnecessary strain on the engine.
This risks damaging the engine over time.
From the onset, Traeger customer service was outstanding. I contacted Traeger through their online form and was connected to an agent that was knowledgeable about Traeger products. She answered all of my questions thoroughly and provided product details.
After I had a pretty good understanding of the product and its features, I had the opportunity to schedule a demo.
The Pellet Grill comes with a surprisingly large amount of accessories. I was surprised to see a beef jerky warming tray, a meat probe and a bag of pellets with the grill.
I was also impressed about how well built this grill is. The assembly and cooking area look like they have been put together using a high level of care and craftsmanship. The Pellet Grill holds temperature at a steady temperature of about 325F which lets me know that it is well made.
The grilling surface doesn’t look too big, but the Pellet Grill has a pretty large capacity which can hold 25 pounds of meat. It’s large enough to fill your smokers and it’s wide enough to fit at least two racks worth of ribs.
My favorite thing about the Traeger is that it has a PID controller. This will tell you exactly what temperature you have chosen and how your pellets are cooking.
As these units are designed for different applications, some of their external finishings may differ. In most cases, the appearance of a grill is of no concern as long as the internal components are the best suited for the application.
The Traeger, however, comes with a stainless steel hood and stainless steel body with powder coating.
The high-quality stainless steel finish is a telltale mark of the superior quality of the grill.
The grill’s body, hood, doors, and the cooking grates are all made from stainless steel. The unit also comes with a stainless steel fireplace grate so you can enjoy a campfire in the comfort of your home.
The REC TEC, on the other hand, comes in a black and gray color scheme (and it also costs less). The unit’s hopper and firebox are also made of stainless steel.
Other important features of the REC TEC are the auto-start ignition, ash clean-out system, burn-pot thermostat, temperature monitoring system that gauges both the internal grill temperature and the temperature of the grill’s exterior surface, a 40-pound pellet hopper, and a 915 square inches surface area of searing grilling space.
WiFi / App experience
The WiFi internet access on the Traeger is not that great. For the first couple of weeks it was hard to even get it to connect to the network on any occasion. I had to do it from my window using my iPod touch.
The Traeger app software is not very intuitive and it can take a bit to get used to the system where you need to know the exact temperature of your grill and it won’t remember the temp for the next time you turn it on. It seemed like there was a learning curve to using the Traeger app. Both my friend and I discovered that the software has trouble with connecting to WiFi. I have AT&T, and I had no such issues.
At the time of my testing, the app only worked with iOS devices. According to Traeger it was on compatible with Android. I downloaded the app, and it worked, but I couldn’t pair the grill to the WiFi network. I tried several times, and gave up in frustration. I did eventually get it to connect, but in so doing I completely changed the WiFi network names.
If your Traeger isn’t on WiFi, you can’t access the WiFi functions on the device.
Stand out features
There are two types of pellet grills. Each one has its own distinguishing features. The first type is the Traeger, which is more common of the two. The Traeger pellet grill is a better option for people who like to smoke their meat and meat dishes at a lower temperature. It’s also perfect for people who live in a colder climate. The other type of pellet grill is the REC TEC pellet grill. This grill is perfect for people who like to pre-season the meat before smoking and also for people who want to smoke their meat at a higher temperature. If you’ve got a budget that allows you to buy one of the two, or rather the best units of each, then you should know that the REC TEC is a better choice than the Traeger grill.
An interior light
Illuminates the meat during the cooking process. With the light on, cooking is much faster. And, it also makes it easier to watch the meat, which is an upside for some, since you don’t have to constantly open the grill to check on your food.
Two temperature probes
Meat probe function.
Both grills are very similar looking, heavy duty, and have a cast iron grill grate. Major differences are that the Rec Tec has two temperature probes, an excellent feature for smoke roasting or smoking, and a meat probe function. The Rec Tec also has a pellet dump tray for easy cleanup and a very useful spring loaded pellet hopper that holds pellets for a reload. The Rec Tec is a 100% pellet grill and the Traeger is a smoker with a pellet grill unit.
The Rec Tec RT-680 has stainless steel burners with baffles that create a cyclone of fuel that torch meat quickly and evenly.
The RT 700 has independently controlled burners, a rotisserie ring, excellent customer support that includes a relatively new online community that answers a lot of questions.
The RT 680 is a very powerful gas grill that can be used for grilling, smoke roasting, and smoking. It has a decent sized grease collection pan that can hold a surprising amount of oil drip and grease from cooking.
I’ve used my RT-680 for about a year and a half and I have never had a burnout.
I really like the side open wood chip box and the two over-sized cast iron burners.
To avoid a lot of the extra fuss when using a pellet smoker, many have made a gradual switch to the convenience and ease of use of wood pellets. But this doesn’t mean that you still can’t have a great smoky flavor when you smoke your meats.
You can replace the wood pellets with other kinds of wood such as cherry wood and add chunks of wood to your smoker or even use wood chips to your your pellets.
The use of different woods will give you a different smoke flavor. You might also want to experiment with alternate fuel sources to give you a different heat profile for the wood flavor. You can even combine wood pellets and alternate fuel sources to get the right flavors and heat.
REC TEC Stampede RT-590
When it comes to pellet grills for the mid price range, you have to consider what grilling experience you are after.
The REC TEC Stampede RT-590 has 598 square inches of grilling area and can reach up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
It has an advanced Y cool touch handle and a convenient wood pellet loading system.
For a mid level pellet grill, this grill offers exceptional performance especially when it comes to the convenience of the wood pellet loading system.
But when it comes to competition, we still favor the Traeger over the REC TEC as it offers comparable performance, a better build, and a larger grilling area.
The TRAEGER Timberline has 716 square inches of grilling area and 5 main burners.
It may be worth investing in if you are after a grill with a higher capacity to grill for a large group of people at once. It also has an advanced wood pellet loading system, called EASY FILL, which is far more convenient than the one in the REC TEC.
It also has the advantage of a stainless steel construction, which gives it the finishing touch on a professional setup. If you’re looking for the highest quality pellet grill for the mid price level, the TRAEGER Timberline should be your choice.
REC TEC Trailblazer RT-340
Or Traeger Timberline 850?
A year or so ago, I got into the pellet grill craze. I purchased a Rec Tec and was blown away. I loved how precise the temperature control was. I also loved how evenly the pellets burned and the flavor of the food. I used it for many years, and was very satisfied. After I decided to build the shed this summer, I upgraded to an additional pellet grill. I needed to be able to grill more food. I purchased another high end grill, again, the REC TEC.
I used it once and was so disappointed. I took it back and told the retailer that they should stick with the Traeger. I purchased the Traeger Pellet Grill Timberline 850.
Traeger Timberline 850/1300
Vs. Rec Tec Bullseye If you are looking to make the switch from gas to pellet, already enjoy smoking/grilling and you don’t mind a lot of tinkering, all of the Traeger models (Backwoods to the Camp Chef) are excellent.
The Rec Tec Bullseye’s digital controller has a setting for everything, is super easy to learn, with a convenient cooking stat window, and is a certified BBQ temperature probe.
If this is your first time buying a smoker, the basic Traeger models are not exactly intuitive to use…or understand. Again, if you want a simple smoker, the Rec Tec Bullseye is a good start.
Top 5 Regional American barbecue styles
- Memphis: Mutton ribs braised in sauce and slow-smoked over a variety of woods.
- Texas: Meat is typically prepared in adobo sauce, marinade, or dry rub form.
Texas style brisket, pulled pork, or sausage.
Brisket Smoke ring, cut of Beef Rib, sliced Beef Brisket, barbecued pork.
Kansas City: Spare rib, barbecued chicken, and barbecued brisket.
- Boston: Pastrami-style brisket in a corned beef rub, served either sliced or chopped.
- New York City: Pastrami-style pastrami in a corned beef rub.
- San Jose: Tri-tip Santa Maria-style. Roasted over an open fire.
- San Francisco: Tri-tip Santa Maria-style.