With interest in pellet grills booming, people are eager to learn more about these revolutionary backyard cookers. That means lots of research and plenty of comparison shopping. As the pellet grill originator, Traeger is the name most people encounter first. However, what they quickly learn is that, while Traeger is the oldest and best-known brand, there are a number of other options to choose from, including Louisiana Grills.
Louisiana Grills was one of the first brands to enter the market after the original Traeger patent expired, making them one of Traeger's earliest competitors. It's no surprise then that Traeger and Louisiana are often compared by customers who are trying to decide between pellet grills. While there are plenty of similarities and both offer quality models, each brand has its own unique features that will appeal to particular customers.
Traeger: The Originator
Traeger invented the pellet grill over thirty years ago and has been the biggest name in the market ever since. Thanks to their patent, for twenty of those years they were virtually the only pellet grill on the market. Yet over a decade after the patent expired and scores of competitors flooded the market, Traeger continues to be the best selling and most popular brand. In many ways, Traeger is to pellet grills what Weber is to gas and charcoal grills—the established name that people trust and every other brand is measured against.
Traeger offers something for everyone, from small portable pellet grills like the PTG+ that are perfect for camping, to mid-sized models like the Pro Series 22 that are ideal for a small family, and even oversized units like the Traeger XL that can be used for catering and competition. They also offer a number of affordable options—the PTG+, Junior Elite, Tailgater, and Bronson all retail for under $500 and offer Traeger quality at a reasonable price.
The two most important features on a pellet grill are its construction and controller. All Traeger Grills feature powder-coated steel construction (for more durability, you can upgrade the fire pot, drip pan, and heat diffuser to stainless steel). Every Traeger—with the exception of the new Timberline—utilizes a knob-style digital controller that can be set in 25 degree increments from roughly 180-425°F and maintain either +/-20°F (Digital Elite Controller) or +/-15°F (Pro Series Controller).
Louisiana Grills: An Early Competitor
Louisiana Grills is one of the more established pellet grill makers in a field rife with newcomers. Having been in business since 2006, Louisiana Grills, along with Green Mountain, is one of the oldest pellet grill brands not named Traeger.
Louisiana Grills has differentiated itself by making advanced pellet grills with desirable features at a relatively affordable price. Every one of their pellet grills has a one-touch PID controller that can be set in 5 degree increments and can maintain its temperature within +/- 5°F, as well as a programmable meat probe and an Adjustable Flame Broiler for direct grilling. All of their models except for the Tailgater 300 also include an upper cooking rack and a lower storage shelf.
Although they have a fairly extensive lineup of pellet grills, Louisiana Grills generally only differ in size and where they're made—the LG Series is made overseas, the Country Smoker (or CS) Series is made in Canada.
Like Traeger, Louisiana offers pellet grills in several sizes, from their Tailgater 300 for on-the-go grilling all the way up to the Whole Hog, which, yes, can cook a whole hog, as well as several other options in between. Unlike Traeger, they don't have any pellet grills for under $500. However, Louisiana Grills are reasonably priced compared to other pellet grills with a PID controller and open-flame grilling. In fact, the majority of their grills, including the Tailgater 300, LG700, Country Smoker 450, LG900, Country Smoker 570, and LG1100, are priced under $1,000.
Louisiana Grills LG700 vs Traeger Pro Series 22
When customers seek out comparisons, they usually want a bottom-line judgement, an absolute answer on which model is better. That means making assumptions about what people value most. The problem is that no two customers are the same. While some will sacrifice performance for price or forego bells and whistles to save money, others prefer to pay more for extra capability or invest in advanced features. Therefore, the best pellet grill, is usually the one that is right for you, your budget, and your needs.
Still, there is value in comparing pellet grills, if only to present the features each has to offer so customers can make an informed decision. In the Traeger vs Louisiana debate, the best comparison is between the Traeger Pro Series 22 and the Louisiana Grills LG700 (the Pro Series 34 and LG1100 is a close second). Both are roughly the same size, cost the same, and are each brand's most popular model. Below is a side-by-side of the pertinent features:
- Price: $799
- 26x19” primary grate is porcelain coated cast iron and offers 497 square inches.
- One-touch PID Controller can be set in 5°F increments from 180-600°F and can maintain the desired temperature within +/-5°F.
- Programmable meat probe allows you to monitor food temperatures, plus program the grill to lower the heat when it’s done cooking.
- Constructed from 14 gauge steel with a robust cart that features a convenient solid lower storage shelf.
- Adjustable Flame Broiler allows you to cook over an open flame for high-heat grilling and true searing.
- Upper rack (210 sq in) increases total cooking area to 707 square inches.
Construction: Made of high-temp powder-coated steel. Louisiana says that each lid is rolled from the same steel as the body to ensure a snug fit and prevent heat loss. The LG700 includes a solid metal lower shelf that adds stability and storage.
Performance: The one-touch PID controller can be set in 5°F increments and continuously adjusts its pellet feed to maintain +/- 5°F, even in cold weather. With a high temperature of 600°F and open-flame grilling option, you should have no trouble with high heat cooking and searing.
The Features that matter: The PID controller, Adjustable Flame Broiler, and programmable meat probe. The ability to precisely control your cooking temperature is key to turning out good food every time, while the ability to do high-heat grilling over an open flame is a great luxury that eliminates the need to fire up a gas or charcoal grill.
The Bottom Line: The Lousiana Grills LG700 offers a lot of premium features at a competitive price. There aren't too many similarly sized pellet grills with a PID controller, programmable meat probe, and direct grilling option for under $800. That makes the LG700 a solid choice for both first-time pellet grill customers and those looking to step up from entry-level models.
- Price $799
- 22x19” primary grid offers 418 square inches
- Pro Series Controller with Advanced Grilling Logic that can maintain +/-15°F. The knob control can be set in 25°F increments from 180-425°F.
- 2 Meat Probes allow you to monitor cooking temps on the LCD display.
- Sawhorse chassis gives the Pro Series thicker legs and sturdier frame. All-terrain wheels and side-mounted handle make it easier to move around the yard.
- Upper rack (154 sq in) 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.
Construction: The Pro Series 22 is also made of powder-coated steel; the sawhorse chassis provides stability and mobility thanks to all-terrain wheels and a side-mounted handle.
Performance: The Pro Series Controller with Advanced Grilling Logic (AGL) maintains +/-15°F, which is about the same as a kitchen oven. However, Traeger states that range is based on ideal conditions, so there may be larger fluctuations on cold or windy days.
The Features that Matter: The Advanced Grilling Logic offers sharper temperature control than most standard digital controllers. Having dual meat probes is a great luxury when you’re cooking multiple cuts of meat, though they are not programmable. The new sawhorse chassis is stylish and looks good but, more importantly, offers added stability.
The Bottom Line: The Pro Series is Traeger's most advanced line in terms of construction, design, and performance. It also benefit from including desirable accessories like dual meat probes and an upper cooking rack. A quality pellet grill, it's a clear step up from many of the inexpensive pellet grills flooding the market, making it a good choice for first-time buyers as well as those looking to upgrade from an entry-level model.