Yoder vs Traeger: A Tale of Two Giants

August 25, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

Comparing Traeger to Yoder is no easy task as these are both top notch brands. I will cover several points of comparison in this post including models, cooking surface area, and grilling temps. However, the main difference is that Traeger is meant for home use for the average person and Yoder is a competition level brand for serious pitmasters.

I have been a longtime Traeger fan but as I took a greater interest in the competition circuit, I was introduced to Yoder Smokers. Since both of these brands are the best at what they do, I got the help of a pitmaster friend to help me compare these two brands.

In this post, I will guide you through the differences and similarities of Yoder vs. Traeger so you can get an in-depth idea of what to expect from each brand!

yoder vs traeger

A Quick Note About Yoder and Traeger Grills

Before I go into detail about these two brands, I just want to give you a heads up about Yoder Grills and Traeger Grills.

Traeger Grills is a niche company that only produces wood pellet grills. Yoder Grills, on the other hand, designs and builds pellet, wood, and charcoal grills.

As you can imagine, for this post, I will be focusing on the wood pellet grill element of Yoder Grills.

Yoder Grills vs. Traeger Grills: A Comparison

Let's take a closer look at how Yoder Grills and Traeger Grills compare to one another in terms of features, materials, quality, and more.

If you want a quick breakdown of how these two brands measure up to each other, take a peek at this table:

Subheading

Yoder Grills

Traeger Grills

Brand Focus

Offers charcoal, wood, and pellet grills with a focus on high-quality construction and competition-level performance.

Primarily produces wood pellet grills with a focus on user-friendliness, varied designs, and features for home usage.

Variety

Similar models with less variation in design and features.

More variation in design and features across different models.

Hopper Capacity and Design

Comparable hopper capacities with Traeger, except the Cimarron S with a 40lb capacity.

Hopper capacities vary across different lines. Timberline Series includes a hopper sensor.

Temperature Range

Higher maximum temperature (up to 700 F), suitable for searing food. Minimum temperature of 250 F.

Lower maximum temperature (up to 500 F). Better for smoking with a minimum temperature of 180 F.

Control System and Panel

Simple control panel with a low-tech approach.

Similar control panel layout for most models, with Ironwood offering a full-color touchscreen display.

Connectivity Features

Offers Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

WiFire connectivity using home Wi-Fi.

Country of Manufacturer

Made in the USA with high-quality materials and manufacturing.

Moved production to China, but still maintains good quality.

Target Audience

Residential users and competition-level users.

Primarily aimed at residential users.

Design

Traditional grill design with bulkier appearance.

Streamlined, rounded design for home usage.

Quality and Warranty

High-quality construction and materials. Offers a longer warranty (up to 10 years on some parts).

Good quality with stainless steel and porcelain-coated grates. General warranty for 3 years.

Availability

Less available, sold through specific dealers, and not available online.

Widely available through major chain stores, Amazon, and the Traeger website.

Price

More expensive, starting at over $2000.

More affordable, starting under $500.

The Models

I want to first begin with the wood pellet grill models that you can find with each brand. As I already mentioned, Traeger Grills only produces wood pellet grills while Yoder Grills produces charcoal and wood grills too.

Despite this, Yoder Grills has a pretty impressive selection of pellet grills and smokers. The lineup includes the YS480s, YS480s Competition Grill, the YS640s, the YS640S Competition Grill, the YS1500s, the Cimarron s, and the Cimarron s Competition Grill.

As with all models, the grills function as a Yoder pellet smoker and grill.

As for Traeger Grills, there are several lines to choose from. From the Portable Series, there is the Ranger and the Tailgater.

Then you have the ever popular Pro Series with the Pro 575 and Pro 780. The next level up is the Timberline Series with the Timberline 850 and the Timberline XL.

Following this you have the Traeger Ironwood Series, the most premium Traeger grill on the list with Ironwood and Ironwood XL.

When it comes to the number of models, Traeger pellet grills and Yoder pellet grills are more or less tied. They have almost the same number of options to choose from.

In terms of actual variety, though, Traeger Grills would win the title. The Yoder grills are pretty similar to one another whereas Traeger offers a bit more variation in design and features.

Grill Sizes

When we talk about grill sizes for pellet grills, what we are actually referring to is the cooking surface area.

If you are looking for smaller size pellet grills, then Traeger Grills will serve you well. The Ranger offers up 184 square inches of cooking space and the Tailgater provides you with 300 square inches.

The Pro Series boasts mid-sized grills. The Pro 575 has 575 square inches of cooking space and the Pro 780 has 780 square inches of surface area. Then you have the Traeger Timberline line - the 850 has 869 square inches and the 1300 has 1343 square inches.

Then you have the Ironwood Series. The Ironwood has 616 square inches of cooking space while the Ironwood XL boasts 924 square inches.

When it comes to size and cooking space, Yoder pellet grills win in this category. The smallest grill - the YS480s has a surface area of 800 square inches. The YS640s boasts 1070, the Cimarron S has 1325 square inches. The 1500s is the largest model with 1500 square inches!

As an added bonus, the Yoder grills have a higher clearance from the roof of the cooking chamber to the grill surface. This means that it can easily fit larger cuts like brisket.

Veggies and Meat Smoked on TRAEGER PRO 575 PELLET GRILL

Hopper Capacity and Design

As you are well aware, the hopper is an important part of pellet grills and smokers. So, let's take a look at what each brand has to offer in this department.

With Traeger, the pellet hopper capacity remains constant within each line. For instance, for the Portable Series, both Traeger pellet grill models have the same hopper capacity - 8 lbs.

For the Pro Series, the hopper capacity is 18 lbs and this goes up to 24 lbs for the Timberline series. For the Ironwood series, the capacity is 22 lbs.

I would argue that for most models Yoder pellet grills and Traeger pellet grills are on the same level. This is because the YS480s the YS640, and even the 1500s have a pellet hopper capacity of 20 lbs.

It is only the Cimarron S has a capacity of 40lbs.

So, despite the larger size of the Yoder pellet grill models, the hopper capacity isn't necessarily that much larger.

As for the hopper design, I discovered that both the Traeger grill and Yoder grill models have pellet dump features that allow you to easily dump out the wood pellets and switch them out for other flavors if needed.

The Timberline Series does have a leg up on the competition because it also includes a hopper sensor that lets you know when the pellet grill is running low on fuel.

Temperature Range and Management

When it comes to high temperatures, there really isn't any competition here! This is because Yoder pellet grill models completely sweep this category. Their grills can go all the way up to 700 F.

So, if you want to sear food - even larger cuts of meat, then this is the grill that will provide the best results.

Conversely, with Traeger grills, the highest that any grill can get up to is 500 F. The smaller grills from the portable Traeger pellet grill series only go up to 450 F.

However, in the battle between Traeger vs. Yoder, the Traeger does come out on top if you are looking for smokers. This is because the Traeger models can go as low as 180 F, making it excellent for low and slow cooking.

The Yoder pellet smokers, on the other hand, can only go as low as 250 F. Now, this is fine but it is better suited to hardier cuts of meat like brisket.

As for temperature control, the Timberline Series has a smart combustion feature that ensures that there is very little deviation in temperature throughout the cook.

The 1500s for the Yoder pellet smoker and grill has a similar feature to the heat management system. It ensures that the heat is stable from one end of the cooking chamber to the other.

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Control System and Panel

To a great extent, the control system and panel are what determine how easy it is to use a pellet grill. So, Traeger vs. Yoder, which pellet grill manufacturer wins?

Well, the Yoder control panel is very simplistic. It consists of a power button, selection keys, and a dial. You use the keys and the dial to make selections from the menu presented on the LCD screen.

Now, this layout works pretty well, especially if you prefer a low-tech approach to your pellet grill.

Many of the Traeger grills such as the Pro Series also have a similar layout. However, the Ironwood has a full color touchscreen display for those who prefer a more high-tech approach to grilling.

Marinated Chicken Breast on the Grill

Connectivity Features

In terms of connectivity for Yoder vs. Traeger, both brands allow most of their grills to connect to their patented app. This allows you to keep an eye on the grill as well as change the controls from anywhere in the house.

Now, for the Traeger brand pellet grills, you have WiFire connectivity which relies on the Wi-Fi connection in your home to keep the app and grill connected. This does rather conveniently and is available with all models from the Pro Series onwards.

However, I do feel that Yoder wins this round as well. This is because, in addition to Wi-Fi connectivity, the grills can also use Bluetooth to keep the app and grill connected.

This means that you can move further away from the grill and still be able to view the progress on your phone. This feature also works well if you are setting up your grill away from home where a Wi-Fi connection will not be possible.

Where They Are Made?

One of the biggest perks of the Yoder brand is that their grills are made in the USA. There are a few benefits associated with an American made brand.

For one thing, there is quality control. It does tend to be better stateside and, as such, you can guarantee that you are buying a pellet grill that is a true investment. In general, the materials used in American pellet grills also tend to be better.

A lot of people also like to buy American made brands as it is better for the local economy. It is often easier to reach customer service or find spare parts as all of the processes are taking place within the country.

For the longest time, Traeger Grills did have their factories in the US. However, as it became increasingly more expensive to build the grills stateside, the company moved its factory to China.

Despite this move, I haven't seen a significant drop in quality in Traeger. They are still one of the more popular pellet grill brands around.

Who They Are Meant For?

For the most part, Traeger is meant to be a household pellet grill. It is great for anyone who enjoys grilling for the family. The larger grills work well for those who like to host cookouts as well.

Traeger is a really great brand and it does produce delicious and consistent results. However, with its temperature range and features, it is meant for residential use.

Then you have the Yoder grills. While some of these grills are meant to be used for the home, there are also several competition grade smokers and grills for you to choose from.

The main difference between the residential and competition circuit grills is that the latter comes with a setup that makes it easy to move the grill around.

When you compare the Yoder to Traeger, though, you will also see that the Yoder models can get hotter faster and have a larger surface area. The clearance height for the cooking chamber is also greater too.

All of this means that the pellet grills are designed to sear food and accommodate larger cuts of meat.

YS1500S Outlander Competition Pellet Grill

Design

The Yoder pellet grill models are designed to look like traditional grills complete with the conventional chimney. The grills are also a little more bulkier.

Conversely, the Traeger pellet grill model is a great deal more streamlined. While the Yoder smokers are largely made of angles, the Traeger grills have a rounded and softer shape.

Now, the design doesn't necessarily have too much of an impact on the performance of the grill. However, it does speak to the function - Traeger is meant for homes and Yoder works better on the competition circuit.

Quality

When it comes to quality, there is no doubt that Yoder is winning this round. For one thing, much of the grills, including the cooking chamber are made from high quality steel. In addition to this, the grills come with stainless steel cooking grates but there is an optional aluminum grill grate if you want.

On the flip side, Traeger grills are largely made up of stainless steel and have porcelain coated grates.

Now, there is nothing wrong with these materials and, certainly, Traeger is known for its quality. However, Yoder is just better built as is evident by their warranty.

When it comes to Yoder, you get 10 years warranty on the cooking chamber, 3 years on the ACS controller, and 3 years on the ceramic igniter.

Traeger, on the other hand, only has a general warranty for 3 years.

As I already mentioned, Yoder grills are made in the US. As a result of this, they tend to be made with better materials and the manufacturing process tends to be of a higher quality too.

Availability

There is a good chance that you have heard a lot more about Traeger than you have about Yoder. However, as this post shows, Yoder produces some top notch grills that are actually competition worthy.

So, why does Traeger get so much of the buzz?

Well, this has a lot to do with the fact that Traeger is more readily available. For one thing, you can find Traeger in almost any major chain store. This includes Walmart, Target, and Best Buy.

To add to this, you can also order your grill online from Amazon. It is also possible to buy grills directly from the Traeger website.

In short, it doesn't matter where you live in the state, you can find or buy a grill.

On the flipside, Yoder grills aren't as readily available. This is because you can only buy them from specific dealers around the country. What's more, these grills can't be purchased online.

So, there is a good chance that you often have to travel quite a distance to find yourself a Yoder grill. Unless you are pitmaster or a seasoned cook, this isn't always worth the effort.

You should also keep in mind that, unlike Traeger, Yoder grills aren't mass produced. Now, this does mean better quality for you. At the same time, it also means that the company can only afford to produce a set number of grills at one point. Due to this, these grills are more likely to be out of stock.

Chef Grilling Steaks on the Smoker

Price

It probably will not come as much surprise to learn that Yoder grills are far more expensive than Traeger.

The Traeger Ranger is just under $500 while the Tailgater is just a little over $500. Then you have the Pro Series grills which are between $800 and $1000. The most expensive Traeger is a little over $2000.

Conversely, the cheapest Yoder grill is over $2000! The most expensive one is over $8000.

Of course, there are many reasons that Yoder is more expensive. To start with, it is American made and it costs more money to make grills stateside. To add to this, the company uses high quality materials for their grills.

The Yoder pellet grill models are also built as competition grills and offer up a much more professional grilling performance.

You should also keep in mind that a Yoder is an investment. The warranty is much higher than Traeger and so, these grills are built to last.

Yoder YS640s vs. Traeger Timberline 850

Of course, you are probably curious about how these brands line up model vs. model. So, I decided to review and compare the two more popular models - the Yoder YS640s and the Traeger Timberline 850.

Here is a table for a quicker comparison:

Features

Traeger Timberline 850

Yoder YS640S

Cooking Surface Area (Sq. Inches)

880

1070

Hopper Capacity (lbs)

22

20

Max Temp (F)

500

700

Dimensions (Inches)

51 x 59 x 25

61 x 54 x 36.24

Weight (lbs)

238

335

Breaking Down the Timberline 850

Here is what you need to know about the Traeger Timberline 850:

Specifications

  • Cooking Surface Area: 880 sq. inches
  • Hopper Capacity: 22lbs
  • Max Temp: 500 F
  • Dimensions: 51 x 59 x 25 inches
  • Weight: 238lbs

The Grilling Process

The cooking chamber for Traeger Timberline has an oval shape. The space behind the drip tray allows heat and smoke into the cooking chamber. The curved hood directs this heat and smoke toward the food for a totally immersive cooking experience.

The Timberline has an exhaust system that creates a downdraft through the vents directing heat and smoke to the grill as well as outside of the grill.

The Smoking Features

Not only is the Timberline able to reach the low temperatures required for smoking, but the entire grill is designed to ensure that the food is enveloped in a constant amount of heat and smoke. This makes the grill ideal for introducing a nice and smoky flavor to the food.

This is one of the highlights of the Traeger Timberline 850 - it is equally good at grilling and smoking food.

Additional Features

One of the perks of this grill is that it is equipped with meat probes. This allows you to keep track of the internal temperature of the food that is cooking, allowing for a better finished result.

The other feature is that the WiFire features ensure that the grill is synced to your smartphone app at all times, allowing you to keep an eye on the food without needing to hover over the grill for the entirety of the cook.

Breaking Down the Yoder YS640s

Here is what the Yoder YS640s has to offer you:

Specifications

  • Cooking Surface Area: 1070 sq. inches
  • Hopper Capacity: 20lbs
  • Max Temp: 700 F
  • Dimensions: 61 x 54 x 36.24 inches
  • Weight: 335lbs

The Grilling Process

One of the main features of the Yoder is that the cooking chamber is built for optimal heat retention. Not only does this ensure that the grill can get as hot as it needs for cooking various foods, it also makes this an excellent option for colder climates. There are also minimum temperature fluctuations as a result of this feature.

The Searing Features

One of the things that set the YS640s apart from other pellet grills, including the Traeger Timberline is that it can reach temperatures up to 700 F. To add to this, the variable displacement damper concentrates the heat produced by the firebox, allowing you to sear food quickly and efficiently.

Construction Quality

What makes this grill such a winner is that it is built to last. All of the features are made from the highest quality components, ensuring that you will be able to use this grill for years to come. The only downside to this is that the grill does have a higher weight and cost as a result.

Additional Features

This grill comes with Wi-Fi features as well. So, when you use the patented app, you are able to monitor the performance of the grill. You can also change the various settings as you wish.

Yoder Grills vs. Traeger Grills: An Overview

So, is Traeger better than Yoder or vice versa? I don't feel like I can choose a winner here simply because these brands are meant for different audiences.

For instance, Traeger is meant for the average Joe. This is why there are so many different models for you to choose from.

If you want a pellet grill that can be taken to a park or camping or tailgating, then the Portable series will do the trick. An experienced cook but don't want to spend too much money on your pellet grill? The Pro series will be just fine.

If you a grill master and want features that make the grilling experience even more efficient and interesting, then the Ironwood and Timberline series will do.

On the other hand, if you are a pitmaster, serious about grilling, or want to take your grilling experience to the next level, then Yoder is the way to go.

There is also the fact that Yoder is a good investment. The grills are built incredibly well and the warranty is impressive. So, if you don't mind splurging upfront, you will be rewarded with a grill that is going to last you a long time.

Yoder YS1500S Pellet Grill and TRAEGER PRO 780 PELLET GRILL

About Traeger Grills and Yoder Grills

Traeger Grills

The main reason that Traeger Grills continues to be one of the top contenders in the pellet grill market is that they were the first company to design and produce a pellet grill. Joe Traeger designed the first pellet grill in the 70s and then set up the Traeger company in 1985.

While they used to manufacture their grills in America, the factory has since moved to China.

Yoder Grills

By comparison, Yoder Grills is the new kid on the block having designed their first grill in 2007. However, they have built quite a reputation for themselves since then. The company has focused its efforts on creating the best competition grade grills and has recently moved into designing more backyard friendly grills as well.

One of their calling cards is that they are an American made brand.

Wrapping It Up

Well, there you go! If you ever wondered how Traeger and Yoder compare to each other, you know just how they measure up. So, in case you were wondering if Traeger or Yoder was better for you, it is now easier for you to figure out which brand to go with.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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