Z Grills vs. Pit Boss: Pellet Grill Showdown

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Joe Traeger invented the pellet grill in the 1980s and held the design patent for about 20 years to 2006.

After that,  many new pellet grill manufacturers entered the market with different, unique, and versatile designs.

Z Grills and Pit Boss are two examples, but which will win the Pellet Grill Showdown?  

Both Z Grills and Pit Boss brands are equally placed in the lower-end budget wood pellet grills, and both offer quality value for money product options.

However, Z Grills would top the category when the budget is crucial, and Pit Boss will take the honors when size and features are more critical.

Grill with griddle combos reviewed
Grill with griddle combos reviewed

As the popularity of pellet grilling increases, so do the different available models and manufacturers.

We identified two role players in this market and had a closer look at them and their pellet grills.

So, you can’t go without including these two brands if you want to buy a wood pellet grill with a small budget.

The Pellet Grill Showdown: Z Grill vs. Pit Boss

Pellet grills are, in comparison, outdoor ovens that can cook, bake, roast, or smoke foods at regulated temperatures.

Pellets made of compressed wood provide indirect heat and are transferred from a hopper into a firebox along the grill’s length for cooking. 

We know pellet grills can be expensive; therefore, both these manufacturers make pellet grills in various sizes and functions to fit every budget.

In addition, grills differ in shapes and usage complexities, for example, temperature control, ease of use, and other features.

The most likely reason for the pellet grill’s popularity is that it combines convenience with an alternative to traditional cooking methods.

This gives a smokey barbeque flavor to each of the multiple cooking methods. 

You have probably seen or come across Z Grill and Pit Boss grill products.

Both manufacturers provide budget-friendly options without neglecting quality and reliability.

Let us help you decide which pellet grill is best for you by looking closer at these two brands and comparing some models. 

The History Of Z Grills

Z Grills was founded in 2016 and has grown to over 600 experienced global staff to ensure a delicious wood-fired grill experience for their customers.

Before manufacturing under their brand, they made grill components for other well-known pellet grill brands. You can visit this brand here.

Their head office is in California, and their call center is in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Their goal is to make high-quality pellet grills accessible to all, cater to any budget, and empower their customers to enjoy an incredible wood-fired taste at a highly affordable price.

The History Of Pit Boss

Pit Boss is a subsidiary of Dansons Inc. and is responsible for manufacturing the pellet grills and, therefore, is part of a full-service barbeque provider.

Subsequently, they relocated their head office to Nevada, Arizona, making many grill components locally in the USA. You can visit this brand here.

Additionally, the group’s grill product list expands to more than just pellet grills.

Its mission is to provide global consumers with world-class competitive and superior pellet grill products without compromising integrity.

In addition, they have a comprehensive range of grills in their portfolio.

Z Grills vs. Pit Boss: Design And Quality

The quality and design of both manufacturers are average.

Some models on each have a better appearance because of the mix of color options with powder-coated materials.

In addition, their later and top models are either thicker steel options or stainless steel added to the mix. 

Z Grills

The color and stainless steel lid options on some models zoop up the appearance and add a modern taste to the design.

In addition, their 700D4E model has double-wall insulation, and the porcelain-coated cast-iron cooking grates are a welcome feature for easy cleaning and durability. 

Pit Boss

The overall appearances are similar by default, with some color features added for a newer modern look.

Apart from the porcelain-coated cast-iron grates, they use higher quality steel in their high-end models.

In addition, Pit Boss has a more extensive selection and variety.  

Z Grills vs. Pit Boss: Cooking Surface Capacity

Both pellet grill brands have a wide selection range to suit any capacity need, ranging from the smaller portable grillers to the whopping more than 1000 square inches grillers.

However, size relates only to your cooking capacity needs, and both brands have ample options.

Z Grills

The Z Grills’s capacity boasts of just over 200 square inches to the big three-tier grate of 1056 square inches.

Not as big as some of their competitor models, but caters to the average need.

Their three-tier surface grill stands out as it allows more cooking space per square inch for grilling and smoking. 

Pit Boss

Pit Boss has a broader selection of available grill sizes, starting with about 200 square inches portable tabletop models.

Then their mid-range grillers vary from about 700 square inches up to the colossal more than 1000 square inch capacity grillers. 

Z Grills vs. Pit Boss: Additional Features

They are not competing with the top-end players in the market.

Therefore, they concentrate on the basics with limited, costly features and extras.

However, they try adding perks such as side shelves, closed storage cabinets, four wheels, and temperature control features.

Wood pellet grills are not just about cooking.

It provides, in most models, an eight-way functionality cuisine experience that varies from grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, searing, braising, char-grilling, and BBQ-ing.

Except for the low-end entry models on both brands, every grill caters to these features. 

Z Grills

Some of the upper-end models have a meat probe to plug into the control panel for accurate temperature readings.

Most newer models have PID digital controllers. Also, they will include a waterproof grill cover on some models.

Z Grills include more extras and specials in comparison. 

Pit Boss

Most of their models come with only one meat probe, but an extra probe port is available for the second meat probe.

Another optional extra is a lid cover; however, the more you move up the model levels and price, the more likely you will get these extras included in the deal. 

Z Grills vs. Pit Boss: Price

Both brands compete in the lower-end wood pellet grill market and have models priced for low-budget customers.

However, on a positive note, although they provide cheaper food grill and smoke products, it does not mean sacrificing quality and craftsmanship. 

Z Grills

The smaller entry-level models are cheap and then progress to the larger and top-end models, with some added features, which are more expensive.

As a result, Z Grills tend to be the more affordable option between the two brands on a head-to-head level.

Pit Boss

Likewise, with their large variety of pellet grillers, you can enjoy outdoor cooking and food smoking at a low, affordable price.

You can move to the higher-end models with more money and enjoy more luxury features.

In comparison, they are slightly more expensive than Z Grills. 

Z Grills vs. Pit Boss: Pellet Hopper Capacity

By default, as the size of the griller increases, so does the size of the pellet hopper to accommodate the potential heat requirements.

It is nice to have an extra large-size hopper for longer duration smoke sessions, but in the end, it may also just be unnecessary.

Z Grills

The Z Grills hopper sizes vary between 8 and 20 lbs., which should be adequate for any grill function.

In addition, check out and compare any possible pellet loading and cleaning options of the models you like.  

Pit Boss

With their variety of pellet grills, models come in various hopper sizes.

The models we compared range from the 5 lbs. for the portable grillers to 32 lbs. in the larger grills.

However, they have the leading edge with hopper clean-out options to empty and clean the hoppers easier. 

Z Grills vs. Pit Boss: Temperature Control

All pellet grillers come with digital temperature controllers as standard, typically adjusted in intervals of 25 degrees F.

Temperature control is most important in close-lid cooking to provide consistent results. In addition, meat probes help monitor the internal temperature of your meat.

Not all pellet griller cooking functions require temperature control.

Open-lid barbequing, for example, use the open flame direct heat cooking method.

In this instance, managing temperatures by the initial starting amount of pellets and constant attention to the process.

Z Grills

Although the older Z Grills models had reliable controllers, they only recently adapted to the PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) temperature control product.

This is more accurate with minimal fluctuations. As a result, they spec most of their models between 180 °F to 450 °F temperature ranges. 

Open-flame cooking and direct flame searing are only available in the 600 series models.

However, they offer a meat probe as standard on most 700 series models. Make sure to look at different models for specific requirements and needs. 

Pit Boss

Pit Boss uses a digital control board that works hand-in-hand with its meat probes to control and manage temperatures.

They spec their models between 180 °F to 500 °F.

The fluctuations are slightly more than the PID-style controllers used by Z Grills. 

In addition, many of their grills have the direct heat cooking option, which reaches a temperature of 600 degrees F. and beyond.

Their models have dual meat probe ports, but they only supply one probe as standard on some models.

You may purchase a second probe optionally. 

Z Grills vs. Pit Boss: Cleaning Options

Cleaning the grill is a separate function that you never compare with grill functions and options when shopping for a grill.

However, it should be on your function list and good to know as it has to be done and is part of any grill activities. 

Both Z Grills and Pit Boss brands use gravity to manage the dripping grease and other liquids.

It is to run off the surface and sides of the grill to a waste bucket on the side of the grill.

In addition, assistance with cleaning out the ash after each grill can also be a good feature.

Z Grills

Specific models come with the ash clean-out system to discard the ash after every grill session and elf hours of cleaning.

Just pull a lever and dump the ash into a bin; therefore, there is no need to dismantle the grill for cleaning after each grill session. 

Pit Boss

Some models, such as the Navigator-1150, have a pellet door that is very helpful in cleaning out and getting rid of the ash after grilling.

Z Grills vs. Pit Boss: Wi-Fi Control

Keeping up with technology is essential.

So, as expected, it was just a matter of time before we saw temperature controls on wood pellet grills getting a Wi-Fi interface.

This feature is excellent as it allows you to set and control the temperature while away. 

Z Grills

Z Grills have subsequently got on board with their 11002B WITH WI-FI model.

It is slightly expensive, but you get all the standard features with the added Wi-Fi on top. 

Pit Boss

Pit Boss is the forerunner between them with a new Pro Series includes their Pit Boss Legacy Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Controller.

In addition, you can purchase a separate Wi-Fi control for less than $200 to replace the control panel on your existing compatible grill.

Z Grills vs. Pit Boss: Head To Head

Because each brand has a variety of models, and they both provide similar specifications and features at comparable costs, it is best to compare like for like.

The multiple options available between these two brands ultimately point to only two decision factors: your needs and your budget.

You would probably end with at least five grills on your short list by applying your needs.

After that, your budget will guide you to the final choice.

We took a few similar priced items in comparison in the below comparison tables to give you a more pertinent and closer look at each branded model.

Z Grills vs. Pit Boss: Portable Grills

These two models are both portable and priced precisely the same.

In addition, they represent the cheapest entry-level models available from both brands. 

Z Grills CRUISER 200A – $299PIT BOSS MAHOGANY 150PPS – $299
202 – square inches of cooking surface256 – square inches of cooking surface
8 – pound hopper capacity5 – pound hopper capacity
Digital Controller and Firepot with built-in fanPorcelain-coated steel cooking grates
Automatic Auger System to feed pelletsDial-in digital control board with LED readout
Temperature range from 180 to 450 °F Temperature range from 180° to 500°FOpen flame searing up to 1,000° F
3 Year Warranty and 30 Day returns5 Year Warranty and 60 Day returns
View this product hereView this product here

Z Grills vs. Pit Boss: Grills Below $500

These models represent budgets of less than $500, and comparing them will give an idea of what grill sizes, features, and options this money can buy.

Z GRILLS-550B – $469PIT BOSS SPORTSMAN 500 – $464
560 – square inches of cooking surface542 – square inches of cooking surface
10 – pound hopper capacity15 – pound hopper capacity
Temperature range from 180 to 450 °FTemperature range from 180 to 500°F
Bottom Storage ShelfPorcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates
PID controllerDial-in digital control board with LED readout
3 Year Warranty and 30 Day returns5 Year Warranty and 60 Day returns
View this product hereView this product here

Z Grills vs. Pit Boss: Grills Below $600

This comparison should give examples of the grill types available with an increase of a few dollars from the previous comparing products.

Z GRILLS-L600D – $529Pit Boss MAHOGANY 820D3 – $579
572 – square inches of cooking surface849 – square inches of cooking surface
8 – pound hopper capacity21 – pound hopper capacity
Temperature range from 180 to 450°F Temperature range from 180 to 500°F 
PID ControllerFan forced convection cooking
Porcelain-coated steel gratesPorcelain-coated cooking grates
3 Year Warranty and 30 Day returns5 Year Warranty and 60 Day returns
View this product hereView this product here

Z Grills vs. Pit Boss: Mid Level Grills

These models are neither low level nor top of the range, and therefore, it should give an idea of the two brands, the model specifications, and the cost of this tier.

Z Grills 700D4E – $629Pit Boss Navigator 850 – $899
697 – square inches of cooking surface879 – square inches of cooking surface
20 – pound hopper capacity28 – pound hopper capacity 
Hopper Clean-OutPellet door clean-out
Temperature range from 180° to 450°F Temperature range from 180° to 500°F 
PID ControllerDigital control board
2 Meat ProbesStainless-steel meat probes
Porcelain-coated steel gratesPorcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates
Rain Cover IncludedCustom-fitting PB850G grill cover included
3 Year Warranty and 30 Day returns5 Year Warranty and 60 Day returns
View this product hereView this product here

Z Grills vs. Pit Boss: Top End Grills

These two models are at the top tiers of both brands in size, extras, and options.

Therefore, this comparison provides a good view of extra options and the possible additional costs.

Z Grills 10002B2E – $599PIT BOSS NAVIGATOR 1150 – $999
Three tiers of grates2 Meat probes
1056 – square inches of cooking surface1158 – square inches of cooking surface
20 – pound hopper capacity32 – pound hopper capacity 
Ash clean-out systemPellet door clean-out
Temperature range from 180° to 450°F Temperature range from 180° to 500°F 
PID ControllerDigital control board
Stainless steel lidLarge pellet view window
Porcelain-coated steel gratesPorcelain-coated cast iron cooking grates
Rain Cover IncludedCustom-fitting PB1150G grill cover included
3 Year Warranty and 30 Day returns5 Year Warranty and 60 Day returns
View this product hereView this product here

Z Grills vs. Pit Boss: How Many Products?

These brands stocks an ample range of wood pellet grills that should satisfy all your needs.

In addition, we found two interesting and informative videos that would provide you with more info during your decision-making process.

Pit Boss vs. Z Grills Video1 and Z Grills vs. Pit Boss Video2

Z Grills

Z Grills has 21 wood pellet grill products in their range.

450-550 SERIES (5), 600 SERIES (4), 700 SERIES (8), 1000 SERIES (3), PORTABLE SERIES (1)

Pit Boss

Pit Boss has 35 wood pellet grill products in their range.

Navigator Series (3), Portable (2), Sportsman Series (4), Wood Pellet Grill (2), Mahogany Series (5), Retailer Exclusive (19)

The Z Grills Warranty Policy

Warranty: Z Grills has a 3-year limited warranty from the purchase date by the first owner and relates to defects in all materials and quality.

Exclusions: This does not apply to paint, firepot, grill cover, or damage caused by corrosion; therefore, it does not cover rust or oxidization.

Contact them via email for more info at support@zgrills.com

The Pit Boss Warranty Policy

Warranty: Pit Boss carries the Dansons 5-year limited warranty against defects and quality on all parts and electrical components from the purchase date by the first owner. 

Exclusions: This limited warranty does not cover rust or oxidization unless there is a loss of structural integrity on the grill component.

Contact Customer Care by phone: 1-480-923-9630

Z Grills Return Policy

  • Z Grills purchased product order may be canceled within 24 hours with no fees by contacting their Customer Service department at 1-833-947-4557.
  • The canceled order will be subject to their return policy.
  • They will accept the return of defective products for 30 days after purchase
  • All products to be unused, unassembled, and in the original packaging
  • Contact Zgrills’ customer care at 1-833-947-4557 within 3-days of receiving a damaged item

Pit Boss Return Policy

  • Pit Boss purchased unused items in their original packaging may be returned within 60 days of purchase
  • Refunds of approved returns will be within ten business days of receiving the returned item
  • Both original and return shipping costs are non-refundable
  • Pit Boss does not accept returns on electrical service parts
  • Call their Customer Care at 480-923-9630 to initiate a return
     
  • You can cancel Pit Boss purchased orders if the order hasn’t been processed or shipped
  • Any cancellation after processing will activate the Pit Boss return policy

Conclusion

As tricky as choosing a grill between all the available options provided by these two wood pellet grill manufacturers, we found it similarly hard to choose between the brands.

However, they are perfectly placed in the pellet grill market to fill the void for quality budget grills.

However, there must be a winner, and it could almost be a tie because the results were so close.

Nevertheless, Z Grills walks away with the best budget grills, and Pit Boss, with its versatility, has the best affordable and best features grills.

Thus, the ultimate winner is Pit Boss.