A high-quality pellet grill can be a significant investment for any family budget. This is why you need to consider all of the advantages, disadvantages, features you need, and those you can do without when choosing the most suitable grill, which offers the best value for your money.
If you are contemplating whether to opt for a Traeger or a Yoder pellet grill, then you are on the right track because both grill makers are known for their high-quality pellet grills.
While Yoder is best known for making higher-end smokers and grills, which are mostly made for use in BBQ competitions, Traeger offers a much wider variety of pellet grills and smokers, including entry-level mass-market ones.
Each of them has their pros and cons and specific features which may help you decide which brand to opt for.
Here is everything you need to know regarding the Yoder vs. Traeger head-to-head comparison.
Yoder or Traeger, which pellet grill is better?
Since Traeger has a much wider assortment of grills of all types and budgets, while Yoder offers high-end competition-level pellet grills, we will compare the higher-end flagship Traeger and Yoder pellet grills.
The top-rated grill by Yoder is the YS640s and can be compared with the top-of-the-line Timberline 850 by Traeger.
Both of the pellet grills are among the top-rated ones in the higher-end and offer all of the bells and whistles a pitmaster can dream of.
Here is some more information about the two top Yoder and Traeger pellet grills, with their main features, pros and cons, and how they compare to one another.
The Yoder Y3640s is a beast of a pellet grill designed for BBQ competitions but will perform perfectly when used at home as well.
This top-of-the-line pellet grill was designed for pros, and as such, has specifications that will leave even the advanced pitmasters speechless.
It has a massive cooking area of 1,070 square inches with headroom of 12 inches, a 20-pound pellet capacity, and a wide temperature range of 150 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
The high-end pellet smoker is constructed entirely of 10-gauge steel and is made in Kansas, USA.
It has built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity and features the proprietary Yoder Smokers ACS Control System, a ceramic ignition system, and two built-in meat temperature probes, as well as a probe access port.
The smoker has a two-piece heat diffuser with an added access door and is fitted with heavy-duty orange casters for easy portability.
The YS640s is a truly versatile outdoor cooking appliance which can be used for low and slow smoking and barbecuing, as well as grilling and searing the perfect steaks over a direct flame that can reach 700 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to its variable displacement damper, which is something other smokers lack.
Thanks to its generous cooking space and overhead area, you can easily fit all types of food to feed friends, and yet it is efficient and compact enough so that you can use it for feeding just a couple of family members or friends as well.
This American-made pellet grill and smoker is backed by a 10-year warranty for the cooking chamber and 3 years for the ceramic igniter and the ACS controller.
Here are the main specifications of the Yoder YS640s pellet grill:
- Cooking area: 1,070 square inches (including the four cooking grates of 8 x 19.75 inches and the slide-out shelf, which is 15.5 x 28 inches)
- Hopper capacity: a side-mounted pellet hopper with a capacity of 20 lbs.
- Grill grate material: 7/16” of chrome-plated round bar steel
- Construction: the hopper is made of 10-gauge steel, and the cart is from 14 gauge steel. The thickness of the steel cooking chamber is 1/8 inches
- Controls: proprietary Yoder Smokers ACS Control System
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled, and YS Drive App-enabled
- Temperature range: 150 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit in 5-degree increments
- Overall size: 61.3 (L) x 55 (H) x 36.1 (D) inches, including the side and front shelves
- Weight: 335 lbs.
- Warranty: 10 years for the cooking chamber, 3 years for the ACS controller and the ceramic igniter, a lifetime warranty for burnout
- Made in: Kansas, USA
- Made of sturdy almost indestructible steel
- A large cooking area
- State-of-the-art reliable temperature control
- An industry-leading warranty
- On the high-end when it comes to price
The Traeger Timberline 850 is a robustly built pellet smoker with all of the latest technologies, bells, and whistles offered by Traeger.
This top-quality Traeger pellet grill has a cooking area of 850 square inches, a hopper capacity for 24 lbs. of pellets, and a maximum temperature capability of 500 degrees Fahrenheit which can be adjusted via the D2 controller with a digital display.
The extra-high cooking area is distributed among the three tiers of stainless steel grates. The entire construction is completely insulated for better heat and smoker retention, consistent temperatures, and fuel efficiency. In addition, it features the Traeger Downdraft, which is an exhaust vent along the length of the back of the grill instead of a traditional chimney and implements the TRU Convection system for even cooking with no hot or cold spots.
The Timberline 850 also offers a dual-position bottom grate for smoking and searing and has easy-to-clean concealed grease management.
The smart pellet grill has a pellet sensor, which will alert you when it is time to add more pellets. In addition, it has Wi-Fi and can be connected to the Traeger app via its WiFIRE technology, which will ensure that you monitor the cooking temperatures, the meat temperatures, the pellet level, the time, and other data on your mobile phone, even if you are not beside the grill. You can even connect the grill to any Alexa-enabled device and use voice commands to adjust and set your smoker. The app also includes more than 1,600 recipes which you can experiment with on your Timberline 850.
The grill has a D2 Grill Controller, a special Super Smoke Mode, A Turbo Temp for recovering the heat after opening the lid, a Keep Warm option (for holding the temperature at 165 degrees F), and comes with an included meat temperature probe.
It has two all-terrain and two locking caster wheels.
Here are the main specifications of the Traeger 850 grill:
- Cooking area: 850 square inches
- Hopper capacity: 24 lbs. and features a pellet sensor
- Grill grate material: heavy stainless steel rods
- Construction: double insulated stainless steel and steel
- Controls: a Timberline D2 controller for the temperature with a digital display
- Connectivity: WiFIRE technology Wi-Fi, Traeger app compatible, and Alexa compatible
- Temperature range: up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit in 5-degree increments
- Overall size: 51 (L) x 46 (H) x 28 (D) inches
- Weight: 213 lbs.
- Warranty: 3-year warranty
- Made in: China
- Made of stainless steel
- Features some very useful options such as low pellet alarm, Super Smoke, TurboTemp, Keep Warm and more
- An excellent mobile app, and among the few pellet grills which is Alexa compatible and can be controlled via voice commands
- Double insulation, and excellent temperature control
- It has a shorter warranty than Yoder and is made in China
Now that we have presented the two flagship grills’ key features, it is time for a head-to-head comparison between the flagship grills of these two famous pellet grill brands.
Here is how the Yoder vs. Traeger compare when it comes to their best top-of-the-line grills – the Yoder YS640s and the Traeger Timberline 850.
More about Traeger
Traeger Grills is the company that first introduced the pellet stove and which held the patent and thus the monopoly for these brilliant outdoor cooking appliances from the 1980s up to 2006 when the patent finally ended. So, for two decades, this company was the only one producing and selling pellet grills and cookers.
Once the market for pellet grills became free, multiple other competitors appeared on the market.
In 2006, the Oregon-based Traeger Grills Company was sold by the original owner and inventor of the pellet grill Joe Traeger, and the new owners began outsourcing its production to China.
Meanwhile, Mr. Traeger and his two sons moved to work for a rival company Dansons Inc.
While the first generation of the Traeger grills offered impeccable quality, with the shift in ownership and with the outsourcing of the production from the USA to China, the quality issues began appearing among some of the new pellet grills.
Thankfully, the latest high-end models, including the Timberline 850, lack such problems and feature the latest state-of-the-art technologies and the original quality of the Traeger pellet grills.
Still, today, even the higher-end Traeger pellet grills are viewed as starter grills when compared by some newer brands, including Yoder.
More about Yoder
Yoder Smokers is a company founded in 2007 and prides itself on making handcrafted USA-built BBQ competition-grade smoker pits. It backs its high-quality products with a lifetime warranty against burnout.
All of Yoder’s grills and pits are made of top-grade steel, with the smallest and lightest one weighing a hefty 225 lbs. and some of their biggest ones reaching 1,200 lbs.
Still, the company is also working on creating competition-grade smokers suitable for backyard use, and the Yoder YS640s is one of the best examples.
While this excellent grill is built to withstand even the harshest weather and competition, it is compact and affordable enough to be suitable for home use too.
Yoder has a much smaller range of grills and pits in its product list, but the company takes pride in its workmanship quality, including the steel constructions, the fully welded pit doors, and the offset chamber designs of its pellet smokers.
Head to head comparison between Traeger and Yoder
Both the Timberline 850 and the Yoder YS640s have built-in advanced temperature controllers, which make the temperature setting easy and accurate and ensure that the temperature remains consistent throughout the cooking.
The Traeger grill features a D2 PID controller with a digital display, which can be used to set and hold a temperature in the smoker with a consistency of plus minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Timberline 850 and other grills by Traeger boast a TRU Convection system which ensures that the food is cooked up to 20% faster and holds the temperature consistent. It also has the cleverly designed TurboTemp feature, ensuring that the temperature is restored very quickly to the desired levels if the smoker’s lid or door is opened during the cooking.
The D2 Direct Drive system used for the auger drill is DC powered and can switch speeds and reverse during the smoking to keep the temperature consistent.
The Yoder YS640s smoker features the company’s proprietary Adaptive Control System with code that offers maximum efficiency, temperature accuracy, and flexibility. It also boasts the S series Yoder microprocessor, which monitors many different variables and adjusts them to keep the temperature stable. Some of these variables include – the smoker door being opened, the type of pellets used, and even when cold meat is placed in the smoker.
Overall, Yoder offers impressive temperature control, pit calibration tools, and component testing.
The capacity of the pellet hopper
Both of the grills we are comparing have large capacity pellet hoppers. The Timberline 850 has a 25 lbs. hopper, and the YS640s a 20 lbs. hopper capacity.
In both of these grills, the pellet hoppers are side-mounted. The Timberline and other higher-end grills by Traeger, though, have a cleaning hatch on the bottom, which can be used for easy clearing out old pellets and adding different types of wood to the hopper.
The Timberline 850 is compatible with the Traeger App, which will notify you on your phone or another device when the level of pellets becomes low.
The mobile app will also remind you when it is time to clean out the grill from pellet ash.
In both grills, you will need to remove the cooking trays in order to clean out the ash.
Both feature built-in grease traps as well. The Traeger Timberline has a concealed and angled trap which helps direct the grease into a collector located on the grill’s side, making it easy to empty and clean.
So, as a whole, while cleaning any type of pellet smoker is not the most fun task, the Traeger Timberline is the easier of the two to clean.
Wi-Fi connectivity and app experience
After several years of competing with the more modern Wi-Fi enabled grills and smokers of its competitors, Traeger has finally caught up with these latest technologies and now offers its own WiFIRE connectivity, the advanced Traeger App, and the Timberline is among the few pellet smokers and grills which is compatible with Alexa.
The grills from the YS series by Yoder all have built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and work with the proprietary YS Drive app.
The Yoder YS640s comes with two built-in temperature probes, while the Traeger Timberline 850 only comes with one.
But with the apps, you are able to monitor the temperatures of the pit and of the meat via your mobile phone or another compatible device.
While the two apps are excellent, the Traeger app has some features which make it more useful and advanced. These include the low pellet notifications and the huge database of over 1,600 recipes which you can prepare on one of the company’s grills.
Comparing the design and the looks of two or more grills is difficult because everyone has their own preferences.
In this case, both the Timberline 850 and the YS640s have similar designs.
They have similar stubby and muscular forms, so it is hard to say which one looks better.
If you want to find a grill that you not only love for its cooking features but for its looks as well, it is more likely that you will find one which will suit your taste among the massive product list of grills offered by Traeger, which includes pellet grills of all sizes, types, and shapes.
Customization and accessories
Just about every pellet smoker owner wants to keep improving their pit and adding more useful and great features to it.
When it comes to available customization and accessory options, Yoder offers a much wider assortment when compared to Traeger. This makes sense as the pits are designed for BBQ competitions. So, for the Yoder YS640s, you can order and buy an additional 14 accessories, including stainless steel grease shields, direct GrillGrates, Stainless steel shelves, a cover, cast iron griddle, a thermally insulated jacket, door thermometers, a half-sized second shelf, smoking tack with 3 tiers, competition cart and more.
Traeger, on the other hand, offers fewer and basic essential add-ons for backyard users, which include a grill cover, and grease pan, and drip tray liners.
Yoder backs its smokers for a lifetime warranty against burnout and a 10-year warranty for the cooking chamber, plus 3 years for the ceramic igniter and the ACS controller.
Traeger backs all of its grills with a 3-year warranty.
This makes Yoder the winner in this category.
We were impressed with the fact that grill maker Recteq gives all of its customers the mobile phone numbers of its two owners and managers. While neither Yoder, not Traeger go to such lengths, both grill-making companies are recognized for their reliable 24/7/365 customer support based in the USA.
So this one is a tie between the two.
The advantages of Yoder
One of the biggest advantages of the Yoder Smoker grills is their exceptional quality and sturdiness. All of the pits are handmade in the USA from premium quality steel, which is backed by a lifetime burnout guarantee.
The Yoder YS640 has a 10 gauge steel pellet hopper and a 14 gauge steel cart and is backed by an industry-leading warranty of 10 years for the chamber and 3 years for the control system and the ignition system.
The YS640s has a variable displacement damper which will allow you to use the smoker for searing which is rarely possible with other smokers.
The Yoder smokers are all made in the USA as competition-level pits.
The advantages of Traeger
Traeger is the company that introduced pellet grills to the world, and as such, is the longest-running manufacturer of this type of grills. As such, the company offers a massive range of various types of grills for all needs and budgets.
Today, all of the new Traeger pellet grills are fitted with the WiFIRE tech and are compatible with the highly useful Traeger mobile app. In addition, the Timberline is even Alexa compatible, so you can use voice commands to control it.
The Timberline 850 is entirely made of durable stainless steel and has a double-wall insulated cooking chamber. It has fantastic features such as Turbo temp, Keep Warm, Turbo Temp, Super Smoke mode, a low pellet alarm, and more.
Are there any alternatives?
If you are still unsure whether you are making the best choice when choosing a high-end pellet grill, here are some of the top-rated alternatives to the flagship Yoder and Traeger pellet grills.
Memphis Wood Fire Grills is a company that makes some of the top-rated wood pellet grills in the USA. In fact, some of the accolades which the pits made by the company include Forbes naming the Memphis Elite the best grill, and Steven Raichlen from the “Project Smoke” show naming the high-tech grills “The Tesla of pellet grills” due to the state-of-the-art technologies implemented which control the temperature, smoke output and even the doneness of the meat.
MAK Grills is the favorite pellet grill maker of many pitmasters, including Meathead Goldwyn. These high-end grills are made in Oregon and have ultra-accurate temperature control, programmable controllers, and other unique features which you can’t find in most other pellet grills.
Of course, you will need to be prepared to pay quite a price for one of these premium wood pellet grills by MAK Grills.
Both Traeger and Yoder make great quality pellet grills. Their high-end flagships, the Timberline 850 and the Yoder YS640s are similar in design but have some distinct differences.
The Yoder grill could be the most suitable option for you if you want a USA-built, durable, and reliable grill with a 10-year warranty, which offers superb temperature control and is built as a competition-level pit.
The Traeger grill could be better suited for you if you want a highly useful mobile app and Alexa-based voice control, as well as some nifty features such as a low pellet sensor, Super Smoke, Turbo Temp, Keep Warm, easy to clean elements, and others.
Whichever one you choose, you can be sure that you are investing your hard-earned money in one of the best pellet grills on the market in 2021.