Traeger Pro vs Elite

By Bob McCarthy

Size, construction, accessories—there are many features that separate one Traeger Grill from another. Yet perhaps the biggest differentiator is the type of digital controller it utilizes.

When you see a Traeger listed as either a “Pro” or “Elite,” it’s more than just colorful marketing. While those names may suggest a difference in design, they primarily indicate the type of control board being used. Elite and Pro are types of Traeger controllers, and which one you have determines how well your grill can hold its temperature and what features it may or may not include.

Traeger Elite

The Traeger Digital Elite controller was first introduced around 2010 as an upgrade to the traditional 3-position controller Traeger had been using for years. The new Elite controller allowed you to set the temperature in 25° increments from approximately 155-425°F (the lowest and highest settings are Smoke and High and have no numerical value) and could maintain its temperature within about 20°F in ideal conditions. It also featured a digital display that provided the grill’s cooking temperature.

At the time of its release, the Elite controller was put on Traeger’s most popular grills, including the Lil' Tex Elite, Texas Elite, and Junior Elite. Later, Traeger updated the Elite controller to include a Shutdown Cycle setting that keeps the fan running for 10 minutes during shutdown to blow any excess ash from the fire pot.

Traeger Pro and Traeger Pro Series

Interestingly, there were actually 2 different Traeger Pro Controllers. Traeger initially introduced its Pro Controller in 2014 as an upgrade to the Elite. Like the Elite, it could be set in 25° increments from roughly 155-425°F. However, the Pro also included a Shutdown Cycle (which wasn’t yet available on the Elite) and 2 meat probes, giving you the ability to monitor food temperatures on the digital display.

However, two years later Traeger released its Pro Series 22 and Pro Series 34 grills. Originally called the 2016 Pro Series to help differentiate them from the previous Pro models, the new Pro Series Grills had a new controller and a sleek new design, including the instantly identifiable, sawhorse chassis. Yet despite the design change, the upgraded controller was the big news.

The 2016 Pro Series Controller was Traeger’s most advanced control board to date. Like its 2014 predecessor, it had a Shutdown Cycle and 2 meat probes, but also featured Traeger’s new Advanced Grilling Logic (AGL). The AGL tightened temperature control, maintaining the desired temperature within +/-15°F, making it the most accurate Traeger controller to date.

Having two different Pro controllers would have undoubtedly been confusing. To simplify matters, Traeger eliminated the original Pro in favor of the newer Pro Series (Traeger dropped the “2016” when it eliminated the other Pro). While there are still some of the older Traeger Pro Grills on the market, when people refer to a Traeger Pro, they are usually referring to the newer and more advanced Pro Series.

Availability

Currently, the Elite controller comes standard on all Traeger Grills except the Pro Series and Timberline (which uses the new WiFire controller) models. It can also be purchased on its own as an upgrade to older Traeger controllers. Meanwhile, the Pro Series Controller with Advanced Grilling Logic is included on the Pro Series 22 and Pro Series 34, but is also available as an upgrade that can be installed on other Traeger models. As the more advanced controller, the Pro Series board, and the grills it's included on, are priced slightly higher than the Elite