Rec Tec vs Traeger is a choice you’ll have to deal with in picking a pellet grill. It’s a tough decision because both brands are very similar in quality, price-point, and technology.
Traeger has the benefit of being on the market longer. However, Rec Tec (now, Recteq) is offering serious competition. And as we all know, competition is good for the customer. Both these companies have come up with amazing products and exceptional features.
To be clear, you can safely pick a pellet grill from either company. Quality isn’t an issue with either of them. What’s worth looking for are specifics that may offer better value to you.
Let’s see how both brands stack up and what their products offer.
Rec Tec vs Traeger – Detailing The Most Relevant Aspects
Build Quality And Construction
In choosing these mid-range pellet grills, quality is a key factor. Let’s start with the basics. Both companies offer excellent build and construction quality. There’s liberal use of heavy-duty components, good welds, and excellent quality assurance.
However, they differ in the materials used.
Traeger uses powder-coated steel for the grill, stainless steel for the handles, and porcelain-coated grates. Stepping up on the range ladder, you’ll find the mid-tier Ironwood Grill that offers double side wall insulation.
Take a step further up, and the top of the line Ironwood offers stainless steel grates and a stainless steel interior for the double-walled, fully insulated barrel.
Rec Tec (Recteq) goes all in on stainless steel. Anything which can be stainless steel is. Well, except for the heating rod, for which the company chose to go ceramic. They’ve used high-quality 304 stainless steel throughout, thereby ensuring that the grills last a long time.
Recteq does lag where insulation is concerned and barely any models choose to go this route. RT-340 has an insulated lid, but with most Recteq products, you’d be looking to buy an insulation blanket.
To be fair, that’s a necessity if you live anywhere cold.
As build quality goes, I am partial to stainless steel. If we were to go purely technical, a sound argument could be made for Traeger’s approach as well.
That said, I find myself more comforted with Recteq’s stainless steel construction.
How The Pellet Grills Perform On Temperature And Range
For the most part, Recteq Grills offer a temperature range of 200-500 °F. Traeger takes a different approach and gets the temperature range rolling at 150-450 °F.
The extremes at the minimum or maximum don’t change much for the users. It’s just something to know and keep in mind. Theoretically, you could use this range of temperatures for smoking as well as searing.
Practically, temperature ratings aside, none of these grills are suited for searing meat. First, you’ll be working with indirect heat – and that is no way to sear meat. Direct heat and searing over a flame is the way to go.
Second, even if you do manage to use the approximate temperature for searing, it would be a pitiful sear with barely any hint of the Maillard reaction.
Bottom line, the indirect heat approach enables pellet grills to smoke and roast for hours without incident. But that’s not the way to go for searing.
As temperature management goes, grills from both companies do an excellent job at staying within the desired range.
Traeger uses a Pro D2 Controller for most of its grills. This keeps the temperature range within +/- 15 °F. As such, setting temperatures generally happens in steps of 15 °F.
Rec Tec has a more granular approach. Thanks to its use of PID controllers, the temperature will be within +/-5 °F of the set temperature. Changing temperature settings happens in steps of 5 °F.
In most practical applications, this doesn’t make a difference. Even so, speaking purely in terms of temperature range and management, Rec Tec has the edge.
Cooking Space Management
Specifics aside, at the end of the day, it’s the cooking space that matters.
Exact numbers can vary depending on the model in question for either brand. What I like about Recteq here is that it takes a more standard and straightforward approach. There is some room to move about as some models allow expanding the original cooking area by adding more shelves where and if necessary.
Traeger has more options on the table. You can move the primary and secondary grates to manage cooking space. Some models even have a third grate. The larger number of options makes it easier to manage the cooking space. All these cooking options add to the price and are generally available with the more expensive options.
Traeger leads this set thanks to a larger number of options. Recteq scores big because of its straightforward and easy-to-understand approach.
Hopper Capacity – Rec Tec vs Traeger
Hoppers run the pellet grills. Load the hopper, set your grill, and go about your day!
Rec Tec and Traeger both have sufficiently large hoppers. While both companies give different numbers, you can reasonably expect a pellet grill to consume 1-3 pounds of pellets an hour. The lower end of these numbers is more related to smoking, while the higher side focuses on grilling.
Either way, a full hopper will last you a conventional day on grills from either of these brands.
Hopper capacity management is another story – and an interesting one!
Both companies sell their pellets in bags of whole numbers, like 20, 30, 40 pounds. Traeger sells pellets in 20 pounds (and its multiples).
Recteq has hoppers matching its pellet bags. You’ll generally find 20, 30, 40 pound hoppers or Rec Tec grills. Traeger doesn’t share the same thoughts. For whatever reason, several grills from the company have 18-pound hoppers. You can’t empty the pellet bag into the hopper and will have to find a way to deal with the remaining.
It’s not a big problem, but Traeger’s approach sure is an annoyance here.
Warranty And Customer Service
Both companies are known for providing formidable and admirable customer service. If you call them, you are very likely to get someone who understands what the pellet grill is doing and can offer good advice or take action.
Warranty is handled differently by each company. Traeger grills usually offer a 3 year warranty. Recteq has taken the warranty scene a step further. Some of their grills, like the RT-700, come with a 6-year warranty that covers almost every part of the grill.
Some Rec Tec (Recteq) models have a two or four year warranty too.
Traeger and Rec Tec are known to stand by their products, offer good warranty service, and have excellent customer care.
Extra Features And Technology For Both Brands
Rec Tec and Traeger show off excellent technology and convenience settings in their grills. Some of these include WiFi and app control, additional meat probes, and better temperature management.
Automating grills through WiFi and even digital assistants (Alexa) seems quite fantastic. Well, maybe even a bit gimmicky, but it has its place. Their apps need improving, but Rec Tec and Traeger are going on this path with excellent finesse.
By connecting to a home’s WiFi network, these pellet grills open up a world of options. They are very capable of operating for hours without needing human intervention. With WiFi and apps involved, greater control becomes possible, even without being physically close to the grill.
Some applications include switching the grill on or off, managing temperature, checking to see how it’s doing, and even keeping an eye on pellet availability!
There are some more specific technologies as well, like Traeger’s super smoke mode and Turbo Temp (available in select models). Recteq too offers an extra-hot setting, automatic cool down, and clean-up systems.
Pellet grills from both companies tend to have a touch of high-quality, good workmanship, and cutting-edge technology and features.
Recteq Grills And Traeger Pellet Grills – Popular Models Compared
Rec Tec RT-590
Placed towards the lower end of Recteq’s offerings, RT-590 is still a formidable pellet grill. It comes with all conventional features you’d expect from a Rectec, including WiFi connectivity.
The construction and build quality are pretty much impeccable. The grill weighs 160 pounds and is made from high-quality stainless steel. It’s well-crafted and every nook and cranny of the grill seems to have received attention.
Keeping with the naming conventions of the company, Rec Tec RT-590 has a cooking area of 590 (592) square inches. A 30 pound hopper feeds pellets to the grill and keeps the operation smooth and managed.
Recteq RT-590 includes WiFi connectivity. Once you connect the grill to your home network, you’ll have to set it up with the company’s app. When this is complete, you can control the grill from anywhere through WiFi (provided the network connection is stable).
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to depend on WiFi to control the grill. It’s as easy to use the control panel provided on the grill to set temperature and get the ball rolling. RT-590 uses the company’s Smart Grill Technology, which promises to maintain a steady temperature throughout the process.
Another great feature is Recteq’s 4-year bumper-to-bumper warranty. The company claims it is unmatched at this range, and I’m very much inclined to agree with them.
Traeger Pro Series 575
Traeger Pro Series 575 is the model that best competes with the RT-490. As such you will see similarities in pricing and features. When you actually see and compare the machines, the specific differences we discussed between the two brands become very visible.
This pellet grill has 575 square inches of cooking space, much like its name. It is fed pellets through a hopper capable of holding 18 pounds.
Incidentally, Traeger sells its pellets in only 20 pound iterations, so be prepared to find something to do with the 2 pounds that are going to remain behind in the packet. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, until you have a bunch of packets lying around, each with 2 pounds of pellets!
Traeger Pro Series 575 can connect to your home WiFi network. After that, you can manage and control the grill through your smartphone using Traeger’s app. Traeger calls it WiFIRE technology, which is a nice name, though the underlying system is pretty similar to what other companies (like Recteq) use.
Well, there is an additional feature here. You can control the 575 through digital assistants like Alexa. And by control, I mean basic things like switching it on/off, managing temperature, etc. Traeger offers a 3-year warranty on this pellet grill.
Rec Tec RT-700 – Exceptional Rec Tec Pellet Smoker
Rec Tec RT-700 is in the mid-range of the company’s offerings. It’s bigger, larger, and perhaps even slightly better than the RT-590. Keeping in line with the company’s naming convention, this one has 700 square inches of cooking area.
It has a simple, yet remarkably sturdy construction. The company calls it a commonsense design that’s built to last. Recteq says there are no unnecessary frills in the construction, which would be gimmicky and create weak points in the grill’s construction.
We can’t have that! This Rec Tec pellet smoker and grill has been built like a tank. It is designed to last. And that’s why the company offers a 6-year warranty on the RT-700. And they are quite comprehensive.
It is quite reassuring, not only for the warranty, but a sense of knowing that the company stands solidly behind their product.
The grill comes with a 40 lb hopper, which means it can be in action for several hours. If you’re using the grill to smoke food, there is no need to monitor it by being physically close to it. It connects via WiFi and you can control most of the grill’s attributes using your smartphone.
Traeger Ironwood 885
As you can guess, the Ironwood 885 is Traeger’s competitor in the range of the RT-770. The first thing to notice here is the cooking area. As its name implies, this grill has 885 square inches of cooking area. The gain largely comes down to Trager offering more options and being more versatile in the use of available space.
Although, you might also consider Ironwood 650 as a competitor for the RT-770. After all, it is closer in price. That comparison wouldn’t be too difficult either. The most prominent difference between these two Traeger Ironwood models is the cooking space. The 650 has a cooking area of 649 (or, 650) square inches.
Traeger Ironwood 885 has excellent construction and is built to be exceptionally strong. Of course, it doesn’t use stainless steel throughout, unlike RT-700. Ironwood 885 uses porcelain-coated grates, though the body is made from powder-coated stainless steel.
It has double-walled sides for better insulation and can leverage that to perform better than its Recteq competitor in some locations. Although throwing on an insulation sheet might level the playing field for both these grills.
Traeger hasn’t given up on the smart touch here. This grill comes equipped with WiFIRE technology. That means Traeger Ironwood 885 connects to your WiFi network and can be controlled through an app installed on your phone. Several functions are also available through Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant.
Ironwood 885 comes with a 3-year warranty from Traeger.
Recteq RT-1250 Pellet Grill
Well, now we’re talking top-of-the-line. Recteq RT-1250 has a solid claim to being amongst the most remarkable pellet grills. Although, it should be mentioned, as the top-of-the-line product, RT-2500 BFG Wood Pellet Grill would be an amazing contender too. However, it’s huge and (for now) doesn’t have a similarly sized product in competition from Traeger.
There’s a massive 1250 square inches of cooking space here, and Recteq knows how to make the best use of it. The company says you could use this grill to bake, smoke, sear, grill, and even dehydrate, all with the push of a button. So many functions and the ability to do it all with simplicity has to be enticing.
As with other Recteq pellet grills, this one too is made entirely out of stainless steel. And given its size, they seem to have taken an additional interest in making the RT-1250 sturdier and stronger. That attention to detail shows in the functioning of this amazing pellet grill.
It has some interesting features, including two meat probes, excellent temperature management, WiFi connectivity, dishwasher-safe lights, and an auto shutdown mechanism.
Recteq offers a warranty of 6 years on this grill. That should be reassuring when purchasing the Recteq RT-1250 with its hefty price tag.
Traeger Timberline 1300
Traeger Timberline 1300 is the top-of-the-line offering from the company. As such, it comes loaded with features. Thankfully, most of these features are usable, directed at better grilling and quality of life improvements. Useless, gimmicky changes have been kept away from the Timberline.
The large, 1300 square inches cooking area leaves you with a lot of freedom and options. It has excellent construction quality and generously makes use of stainless steel.
The body, as well as grills of the Timberline 1300, are made with stainless steel. Traeger’s build quality is excellent and every nook and cranny of the grill seems to have been carefully checked.
Additionally, the grill is double-walled and insulated. This gives you a better chance of uniformly cooked food, even on windy days with a chill in the air.
The rather impressive list of features on the Traeger Timberline 1300 includes WiFIRE technology, Alexa integration, a meat probe, pellet purge system, integrated grease management, and more. There’s even a bamboo cutting board on this grill!
What To Make Of The Rec Tec And Traeger Comparison
The clear winner in a Rec Tec vs Traeger comparison is going to be one that matches your desires and convictions. We are somewhat partial towards Recteq (formerly, Rec Tec) in this comparison, simply because it seems to offer a greater value.
However, if it goes beyond Traeger, that’s only a slight gain, not a comprehensive win. Both of these are amazing brands and worthy picks, especially when you consider the range of features and build quality on offer. It is reasonable to expect that grills from either of these companies will last a long time.