Green Mountain Grills has become one of the most popular pellet grill brands on the market thanks to a WiFi option and plenty of standard accessories. But does WiFi capability and included extras mean that Green Mountain Grills are worth the purchase?
Bells and whistles are nice. Included accessories are great. However, a quality pellet grill is much more than the sum of its features. Since even an inexpensive pellet grill represents an investment of several hundred dollars, construction and performance should be the primary considerations (Read 6 Tips for Choosing the Best Pellet Grill). A well-built pellet grill with an excellent controller is a better buy than an average pellet grill with a long list of included accessories for the simple reason that it will be last longer, cook better, and require less maintenance over its lifetime.
So how does Green Mountain stack up when you factor in the total package—construction, performance, accessories, and price—and how does it compare to competing pellet grills of a similar size and price (particularly Traeger, Louisiana Grills, and the Pellet-Q450)?
Green Mountain Grills vs Traeger
There are two certainties when researching pellet grills: Traeger and Green Mountain. If you’ve started to dig into pellet grills, you’ve undoubtedly come across both names. Not only are they the two best selling brands on the market, but they’re usually ranked 1 and 2 in Google search results. It’s only natural, then, that they'd draw side-by-side comparisons. (Read our Pellet Grill FAQ.)
As the originators, Traeger gets the lion’s share of attention (they’re also in the midst of a huge marketing campaign that has introduced pellet grills to millions of people), while Green Mountain gets comparatively less fanfare. Often, people come to Green Mountain through Traeger after researching pellet grills and discovering there are other brands. What they quickly learn is that, while Traeger is the biggest name, Green Mountain offers an attractive combination of price and package. Inevitably, that leads to questions, especially among first-time pellet grill customers, about which is the better buy.
In terms of quality, both Traeger and Green Mountain fall in the middle of the pack—they’re better than the cheap models flooding the market, but aren’t as highly regarded as some more advanced models. They both also make pellet grills that are roughly the same size and—the Traeger Pro Series 22 and the Green Mountain Grills Daniel Boone WiFi) which makes for a fairly simple comparison.
NOTE: We chose the Pro Series 22 over the Lil Tex Elite because it better represents Traeger’s current direction. We opted for the Daniel Boone WiFi (it comes in non-WiFi, as well) because it’s the more popular choice and WiFi is perhaps the most compelling reason to buying a GMG.
Green Mountain Grills Daniel Boone WiFi
There’s little dispute: the Daniel Boone WiFi offers a lot at a competitive price. Green Mountain is one of the few brands with a WiFi option, and the ability to control your cook remotely is its biggest selling point. Green Mountain also includes several accessories with the Daniel Boone, offering a little more bang for your buck. Here’s a breakdown of the key features:
- Price: $759
- WiFi can be set up for point-to-point connecting (directly to your grill) or through your home network. The downloadable app offers remote temperature control, recipes, and the ability to program step-by-step processes.
- 27x16” primary grate offers 432 square inches.
- One-touch digital controller allows you to set temps in 5°F increments from 150-500°F.
- Integrated meat probe gives you the ability to monitor food temps on the LCD display. A must-have.
- Stainless steel grates resist rust and corrosion.
- Peaked lid provides more vertical cooking space for large roasts or cooking chicken upright, beer can-style.
- Convenience tray—in terms of side shelves, it’s fairly small and flimsy. A good place for your tools or to (carefully) rest a beer, but don’t lean on it.
- Sense Mate ambient air sensor - Green Mountain says this will put your pellet grill in “Turbo Mode” when it’s cold outside, helping it heat up faster. An interesting feature, but not one you see customers discussing, or even mentioning.
Construction: The painted steel body is standard for pellet grills and is a risk to rust if/when the paint chips. Green Mountain does offer a stainless steel upgrade for the lid, but not the fire pot or diffuser, which will corrode in time. Pellet grills don’t need to have heavy-duty bodies, so long as they have a good controller to hold the temperature. The Daniel Boone has neither. The legs are somewhat thin, which over time could be problematic if you move it around.
Performance: The one-touch controller can be set in 5°F increments, giving a sense of precise temperature control. However, that’s just the set temperature, the grill itself maintains about +/- 25-30°F in perfect weather, with bigger swings when it’s cold or windy. The Sense Mate feature is nice, and sounds great, but it just helps you heat up faster in cold weather, not tighten temperature control.
The features that matter: Of all that’s included, you should care about the WiFi, meat probe, and stainless steel grates. While some reviews claim the WiFi is unreliable, Green Mountain is ahead of the game in offering it and has developed a nice app with good functionality. WiFi capability is what makes the Daniel Boone more than a run-of-the-mill pellet grill. At this point, an integrated meat probe should be standard with every pellet grill (they’re not). Easy to maintain and durable, the stainless steel grates are a great addition.
What’s Missing: In a word, quality. Green Mountain is attempting to simultaneously compete with inexpensive brands like Camp Chef and Pit Boss, as well as next-tier brands like Traeger. To do so, they’ve had to carefully balance price, package, and quality. However, while straddling two markets at once allows them to appeal to more customers, it might be better to charge more (or include less) and offer an upgraded controller or better construction.
The Bottom Line: The Green Mountain Daniel Boone WiFi offers a lot at a good price. That makes it a solid choice for an entry-level pellet grill. The WiFi can’t be overlooked or downplayed—it has forced every other brand to start developing WiFi capability. However, grills are still about cooking first and construction second. Bells and whistles are a distant third. So while WiFi capability and accessories are great, it begs the question of whether their inclusion comes at the expense of a more sophisticated controller and a sturdier build.
Traeger Pro Series 22
With the Pro Series 22, Traeger upped its game, graduating to a better controller, sturdier construction, and included accessories—without significantly adding to the price. Rather than targeting the entry-level market, they aimed to compete with the likes of Louisiana Grills, a brand known for offering high-quality construction, performance, and features at a reasonable price.
- Price $799
- 22x19” primary grid offers 418 square inches
- Pro Series Controller with Traeger’s traditional knob control can be set in 25°F increments from 180-425°F.
- Advanced Grilling Logic provides tighter temperature control, modifying the pellet feed when the grill goes too far below or above the set temperature.
- 2 Meat Probes allow you to monitor cooking temps on the LCD display. One probe is a must-have. Two is a fantastic luxury.
- Sawhorse chassis gives the Pro Series thicker legs, a sturdier frame, and a more robust construction. The design also makes it easier to move the Pro Series 22 around the yard.
- Upper rack (22x7”) increases the total cooking area to 572 square inches.
- Pellet hopper Clean-Out allows you to quickly and easily empty the hopper or change pellet flavors. An underappreciated feature...until you want to change pellets.
- Blue or bronze lid. Completely cosmetic, though choice is never a bad thing.
Construction: The Pro Series 22 is also made of painted steel. The grill grates are enameled steel, but can be upgraded to cast iron. You can also upgrade the fire pot, drip pan, and diffuser to stainless steel. The grill body doesn’t have a heavy build, but the better controller helps counter heat loss. The sawhorse chassis is a big improvement. A couple of years ago, Traeger Grills had legs like those on the Daniel Boone. Beefing up the base provides more durability and better mobility, as do the all-terrain wheels and side-mounted handle.
Performance: The Pro Series with Advanced Grilling Logic (AGL) maintains +/-15°F. It’s not PID control, but the AGL can modify the pellet feed when it over- or undershoots the set temperature. However, it’s still not a grill that will perform well in cold weather without the aid of an insulation blanket. As for only being able to set the temperature in 25°F vs 5°F increments, it has no bearing on whether the grill can actually maintain the desired temperature.
The Features that Matter: Most of what Traeger added has real value, particularly the Advanced Grilling Logic, which improved temperature control. Having dual meat probes is also a great luxury when you’re cooking multiple pieces of meat. Don’t overlook the new sawhorse chassis, which adds needed stability and durability.
What’s Missing: WiFi. Traeger is reportedly working on cloud-based WiFi on par with Memphis Grills. Right now, though, it’s the biggest thing the Daniel Boone has in its favor.
The Bottom Line: With the Pro Series, Traeger took a step forward in quality and performance while also adding desirable accessories like the dual meat probes and upper cooking rack. Could they drop the price a little? Probably, given that the Traeger name, like Weber, adds a few extra dollars to the bottom line. However, the Pro Series 22 creates clear separation between Traeger and the entry-level pellet grills people encounter at big box stores.
Green Mountain or Traeger?
The WiFi factor closes the gap, but the Traeger Pro Series 22 is the better overall grill. Ultimately, pellet grills are as good as their controller and their construction. Added features are nice, especially WiFi, but at this price your grill is an investment and should perform well from day one and continue to do so for years to come. Based on the quality of its controller and its durability, the Traeger Pro Series gets the edge.
The Pro Series 22 came out in 2016. Rather than develop a new model, Traeger could have simply offered more accessories with the Lil Tex or dropped its price to target the bargain consumer. Instead they chose to upgrade, eyeing the customer who's willing to pay for quality. Being pellet grill people, we agree with that decision.
Other Pellet Grills, Similar Price, Better Options
Traeger and Green Mountain may be the biggest names in pellet grills, but they’re far from the only ones. There are some brands that, though they lack the Traeger or GMG name, offer better quality and performance at a similar price. If you’re looking at the Daniel Boone or Pro Series 22, two other options to consider are the Louisiana Grills LG700 and FireCraft Pellet-Q450.
Louisiana Grills LG700: Exceptional Quality at a Great Price
Louisiana Grills has been making pellet grills as long as anyone except Traeger. Like all Louisiana Grills, the LG700 includes PID temperature control, which maintains the grill’s temperature within a few degrees even in cold weather. It also features a robust construction—each lid is rolled from the same steel as the body to ensure a better fit—and includes some great features neither Traeger nor Green Mountain offer.
- Primary grill grate is 26x19” for 497 square inches.
- Constructed from 14 gauge steel
- One-touch PID Controller gives you the ability to set temperatures in 5°F increments from 180-600°F
- Programmable Meat probe allows you to monitor food temperatures and program the grill to lower the heat when it’s done cooking.
- Adjustable Flame Broiler allows you to cook over an open flame for high-heat grilling and true searing.
- Included upper rack (210 sq in) increases total cooking area to 707 square inches.
In terms of packages that combine performance, features, and price, the LG700. is hard to beat. No, it doesn’t have WiFi, but you’re better off with the more advanced controller and added capability. The ability to maintain precise temperature, no matter the weather, and grill over an open flame is worth more than WiFi, which is likely to become standard on most grills and may become a simple and inexpensive add-on in the near future. Also, if you want a bigger version of the same grill, the LG900 has all the same capabilities and features but offers 913 square inches of total cooking area for just $100 more.
The Pellet-Q450: A Stainless Steel Pellet Grill at the Right Price
No matter what pellet grill you buy, it represents a significant investment that should be expected to last. That makes a stainless steel pellet grill incredibly desirable. There aren’t many stainless steel pellet grills available, and even fewer under $1500, but the FireCraft Pellet-Q450 retails for $999. Constructed with stainless steel from top-to-bottom, inside and out (except the cooking grate), the Q450 is durable, rust-resistant, and has a sleek design. It also features a PID controller for precision temperature control and an open-flame grilling option. So, even though you get fewer included accessories, you’re getting what matters most—quality construction and exceptional performance.
- One-touch PID Controller gives you the ability to set temperatures in 5°F increments from 180-500°F
- Programmable Meat Probe allows you to monitor food temperatures on the LCD display and program the grill to lower the heat when food is finished.
- Direct grilling option gives you the ability to cook over an open flame for high-heat grilling and true searing (requires optional Sear Station)
- Primary grill grate of 24x19” for 450 square inches
- Pellet Exchange allows you to quickly and easily empty pellets or change flavors on the fly.
Although the list of included accessories might be shorter, you’re getting a more durable pellet grill with an advanced PID controller. This is a clear case of it being wiser to pay for better construction and performance than add-ons.