If you are doing research to figure out the best pellet grill for your budget then one comparison you ought to look at is Green Mountain Grills vs Traeger. For years Green Mountain Grills were so much better than Traeger that the comparison was laughable. However, with Traeger’s introduction of the D2 Drivetrain and WiFire connectivity the gap has closed and the comparison is more challenging.
Let me walk you some of the key features and subtle differences between these two brands so you can decide which, if either, is right for you.
Finding unbiased information on the Internet is hard because everybody is trying to sell you something. I would like for you to know:
- There are ZERO affiliate links on this page.
- I have ZERO financial interest in whether or not you buy either of these grills.
- This review is NOT sponsored.
Let’s get started.
Traeger Pro 575 vs GMG Daniel Boone Prime Plus
Green Mountain Grills has three primary products, the portable Davy Crocket, the mid sized Daniel Boone and the oversized Jim Bowie. The Daniel Boone and Jim Bowie have equivalent features and only differ in size.
Traeger has three primary product series, the Pro, Ironwood and Timberline. These different lines vary greatly in features and capabilities.
The most logical grills to use for comparison between these two brands are the Pro 575 from Traeger and the Daniel Boone Prime Plus from GMG. Both of these grills are handsome, solidly built and, as you can see from the table below, are similar in size, cost and high end features.
|Pro 575||Daniel Boone|
|Primary Grate (sq in)||418||458|
|Secondary Grate (sq in)||154||0|
|Hopper Capacity (lbs)||18||18|
|Warranty||3 Years||3 Years|
The smoke flavor provided by these grills should be equivalent as both use traditional smoke stacks instead of a rear venting exhaust system and the Pro 575 does not have a Supersmoke Mode like the much more expensive Traeger Ironwood series.
Now let’s look at the differences that really matter.
Pellet Hopper: Winner GMG
There are four reasons that the pellet hopper on the Daniel Boone is better than the Pro 575.
The most important reason is that the pellet hopper has a fan that maintains a positive pressure inside the pellet hopper at all times to help stop burn backs from the fire pot reaching the hopper and causing a massive fire. This is a wonderful feature and GMG is the only manufacturer of pellet grills that I am aware of that has this innovative safety design.
Other upgrades on the GMG hopper include a sensor that alarms when the hopper is almost out of pellets (available as a $79 upgrade on the Pro 575), a window so you can visually check your pellet levels and a built in bottle opener (available as a $19 upgrade on the Pro 575).
Extra Features: Winner GMG
There are a slew of extra features on the GMG that, combined with the advanced pellet hopper, would make me want to buy the Daniel Boone over the Pro 575.
The Daniel Boone has a wonderful side table along with a collapsible front shelf that dramatically increases your work space. The side table also has multiple hooks for hanging your grill tools. You can buy a front shelf for the Pro 575 for an extra $59 but can only get a side table and tool hooks by spending hundreds more and upgrading to an Ironwood.
The other extremely nice upgrade on the Daniel Boone is the addition of an ash vacuum port. You can open the port, hook up your ShopVac and suck out all of the sawdust and ash without ever having to open up the grill and take out the grates and grease tray. I am a big fan of anything that makes clean up easier.
The Daniel Boone has an oversized heat deflector (the largest that I have seen on any pellet grill) that is connected to a slide rod outside the grill body. The slide rod lets you move the heat deflector in quarter inch increments to the right or left so you can fine tune the heat distribution inside the grill.
Minor upgrades worth mentioning include a hood mounted window and a light inside the grill body along with a USB port on the control panel so you can charge your phone or other devices while you are hanging out outside.
Both companies have amazing controllers.
For years Green Mountain Grills held the advantage here as they utilized a PID controller and Traeger’s control was a standard dial in “close enough” model. However, both companies now utilize Direct Current systems to control the auger and fan with a high degree of precision.
In a nutshell, most grills run on standard household Alternating current which works okay, but since the current is constantly oscillating, is not conducive to high precision control. By switching to Direct Current you can make extremely minute adjustments to your power and get equivalent adjustments to the fan and auger speed.
The analogy I stole from somewhere is that your refrigerator runs on AC but your computer runs on DC.
The PID vs non-PID argument does not come into play when both grills are using fine tuned DC control systems. Traeger refers to this new system as the D2 Drive Train while GMG refers to it as a 12V direct power design with micro-adjustment capabilities.
WiFi Connectivity/Remote Control: Winner Traeger
Here is where things get a little ugly for Green Mountain Grills.
The first issue is that the Traeger app is far superior in functionality to the GMG app. With the GMG app you get the basics like controlling your grill temperature and monitoring the meat probes. With the Traeger app you can set alarms, have the grill go into “Stay Warm” mode when the food is done, etc. The GMG app is functional but the Traeger app is simply better.
The bigger issue is that the technology behind the WiFire capability of the Traeger system is protected by two patents and Traeger has filed suit against GMG for unauthorized use of their technology. Traeger is actively seeking to block the importation of any GMGs that violate their patents as well as monetary damages for past grills sold with said technology.
Traeger’s formidable legal team (one reason that Traeger grills are so expensive) has already successfully sued Danson’s due to some hilarious antics in their Pit Boss division (See Traeger vs Pit Boss for more information) so when they filed this suit I suspect it was because they thought they had a pretty solid case.
Customer Reviews: Winner Traeger
When I did my initial review of the Traeger Pro 575 I pulled over 1,100 customer reviews from Amazon, Home Depot, etc and combined them with an equivalent data set from the slightly larger Pro 780. The data for the two grills was nearly identical and showed an overall satisfaction rating of 88% (81% 5 Stars, 7% 4 Stars). Owners really like their Traeger grills.
Unfortunately, Green Mountain Grills has a very different business model than Traeger that prevents people from seeing real world customer reviews.
With the exception of the portable Davy Crockett, Green Mountain Grills grills can only be purchased at local small businesses. GMG does not allow online sales of their grills nor do they distribute their grills through Big Box retail chains like Walmart or Home Depot. The business model of GMG is extremely supportive of small business and, while I think that is great, prevents there being a central location of customer reviews.
The only place where I have read “customer reviews” for the Daniel Boone are in various Facebook groups. This is a highly biased data set however as most reviews are from people complaining about broken grills. Upset customers are always more vocal than happy customers so I could never get a feel for whether GMG has production quality issues or not.
Available Accessories: Winner GMG
There are two major accessories available for the Daniel Boone Prime Plus, a rotisserie and a pizza oven.
Honestly, I have no idea why you would ever want or need to put a rotisserie in a pellet grill. I could rant about the goofiness but that would wear me out and waste your time. Ignore the rotisserie.
On the other hand….the pizza oven is sheer brilliance. To use the pizza oven you remove the cooking grate, grease tray and heat shield and then place the base of the oven directly over the fire pot. The pizza oven can reach temperatures in excess of 800F and cook authentic wood fired pizzas in a matter of minutes.
I spent about an hour on Youtube watching people use this oven to make pizzas and I really want one!
The quality gap between Green Mountain Grills and Traeger has closed in the past few years.
Traeger is making a quality product and the WiFire system is impressive. However, Green Mountain Grills have more features, better accessories, and are more affordable than Traeger. While I think Green Mountain Grills are an excellent alternative to Traeger they are harder to find and I wish there were more real world customer reviews available.
What else would you like to know, or share, about these two grills? Drop a comment below and let’s see what we can learn together!