Pit Boss Onyx Edition vs Competition Series – Which Is Better?

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In my comparison of the Pit Boss Onyx Edition vs Pro Series, I conclude that the Walmart exclusive Onyx Edition pellet grills/smokers are offering better value than the Lowes exclusive Pro Series models. However, there is another range of Pit Boss pellet grills/smokers that are exclusive to Academy Sports, the Competition Series. So let’s have a look to see if the Onyx Edition pellet grills/smokers are better value than the Competition Series products.

Pit Boss Onyx Edition vs Competition Series
So which is the better deal, the Onyx Edition from Walmart or the Competition Series from Academy Sports?

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Introduction To The Pit Boss Onyx Edition vs Competition Series

The Pit Boss Onyx Edition was launched originally with just one model, the Savannah. However, updated versions of the Lexington and Austin XL have now joined the Onyx Edition range.

I have a dedicated article for the Pit Boss Onyx Edition range. However, as a quick introduction, I’ve included the short promotional video below from Pit Boss.

A quick video from Pit Boss on their Onyx Edition range, which is exclusive to Walmart

The Pit Boss Competition Series is a range of products that are sold exclusively through Academy Sports, and in my Pit Boss Competition Series vs Pro Series article, they compared pretty well.

There is a feature of several models in the Competition Series that I particularly like, the roll-top lid. As a roll-top lid is much easier to use for shorter people and reduces the risk of burning the inside of your arm when opening the lid.

The Pit Boss Competition Series is sold exclusively through Academy Sports

In my Pit Boss Competition Series vs Platinum Series article, the Competition Series models showed several advantages and, in several instances, at a lower price point.

However, now let’s have a look at how the Competition Series compares against the Onyx Edition Range. Can the range from Acamedy Sports compete against the Pit Boss products from Walmart?

Both Ranges Feature A Similar Pit Boss Controller

Something that the Onyx Edition products and the Competition Series products share are similar control panels, which first appeared on the Competition Series, but Onyx Edition products now share.

The positive news here is I would argue that this control panel is the best Pit Boss control panel to date, and there are a couple of reasons I would argue this to be the case.

This is by no means the first Pit Boss control panel to feature PID technology for temperature control. However, its one of a few such control panels that actually offers 5-degree increments in temperature control.

Previous PID control panels fitted to the Pit Boss Platinum Series of the Gen 2 Pro Series while running a PID temperature control algorithm they didn’t offer 5-degree temperature adjustments.

Pit Boss Onyx Edition vs Competition Series Controllers
While there is a difference (SmokeIT), the Onyx Edtion (left) and Competition Series (right) use a similar controller

However, its not just the 5-degree temperature adjustment, which I think makes this the best Pit Boss control panel to date, its the reintroduction of the Pit Boss P-Setting.

You see, while PID technology is great for providing tight temperature control in a pellet grill/smoker, that precise control of the pellet fire results in less smoke being produced.

As a result, the first-generation PID Pit Boss control panels would actually produce less smoke than previous-generation Pit Boss pellet grills that had less accurate temperature control.

However, the control panel now fitted to the Onyx Edition and Competition Series has the returning feature of the P-Setting, which gives the user back control over smoke production.

By increasing the P-Setting (which stands for Pause Setting), it means at lower temperatures, the pellet grill/smoker will produce more smoke as the pellets will smolder more.

The trade-off with a higher P-Setting will be wider temperature swings. But at least these control panels now give the user that choice again of how they want to cook BBQ.

What About WiFi/SmokeIT?

As standard, the Onyx Edition models do not come with WiFi/SmokeIT functionality. However, if you really want WiFi/SmokeIT functionality on the Austin Xl and Savannah, they can be upgraded.

The upgraded control panel with WiFi/SmokeIT functionality was $160 last time I checked, but you can use the link below to double-check.


Pit Boss Onyx Edition vs Competition Series Comparisons

Below, I’ve provided some direct comparisons between Onyx Edition and Competition Series models of equivalent sizes to see how they compare not only on their features but also their price points.

Pit Boss Austin XL Onyx Edition vs Competition Series 850

Pit Boss Austin XL Onyx Edition vs Competition Series 850

FeaturesAustin XL Onyx EditionCompetition Series 850
Total Cooking Area1,007 sq.in8,49 sq.in
Main Grate720 sq.in593 sq.in
Cooking Surfaces22
Hopper Size30 lbs21 lbs
PIDYesYes
Temp Range180-500180-500
Temp Adjustment5 Degrees5 Degrees
Smoke Mode/P-SettingYesYes
Direct Flame AccessYesYes
SmokeIT (WiFi)NoYes
Typical Price$483$549

The original version of the Pit Boss Austin XL was one of the biggest sellers for Pit Boss, and I can see the latest version of the Austin XL Onyx Edition following in its predecessor’s footsteps.

As you can see from the comparison above, the Austin XL Onyx Edition offers a larger overall cooking area, main grate, and hopper capacity over the Competition Series 850.

Both models feature direct-flame access, and as we have established above, both pellet grills feature a similar control panel with 5-degree PID temperature control.

However, as standard, the Austin XL is missing WiFi/SmokeIT functionality, though it is available as an upgrade option.

The 850 model from the Competition Series also does not actually feature the roll-top lid design of its larger Competition Series siblings, so that’s not a tick in its favor.

Then we come to the typical price points of these pellet grills, with the Austin XL Onyx Edition priced around $70 cheaper than the Competition Series 850.

I think its a win here for Walmart and the Austin XL Onyx Edition, as long as you don’t want WiFi/SmokeIT. If you do, the cost of the upgrade puts the total price of the Austin XL over the Competition Series 850.


Pit Boss Savannah Onyx Edition vs Competition Series 1600

Pit Boss Savannah Onyx Edition vs Competition Series 1600

FeaturesSavannah Onyx EditionCompetition Series 1600
Total Cooking Area1,507 sq.in1,578 sq.in
Main Grate633 sq.in648 sq.in
Cooking Surfaces33
Hopper Size28 lbs26 lbs
PIDYesYes
Temp Range180-500180-500
Temp Adjustment5 Degrees5 Degrees
Smoke Mode/P-SettingYesYes
Direct Flame AccessYesYes
SmokeIT (WiFi)NoYes
Typical Price$597$799

As you can see from the table above, the Competition Series 1600 has a slight edge over the Savannah Onyx Edition when it comes to the overall cooking area and the size of the main grate.

The opposite is true when it comes to the size of the hoppers. However, none of these differences are by any means significant other than the missing WiFi/SmokeIT on the Savannah.

Now, the Competition Series 1600 does feature the roll-top lid, which I’m a big fan of. However, everything is relative, and overpaying for such a feature is not advisable.

When it comes to typical price points, this is where there is a significant difference between the two. The Pit Boss Savannah Onyx Edition is around $200 cheaper than the Competition Series 1600.

Therefore, while I do personally prefer the roll-top lid design of the Competition Series 1600, I do not think its a feature worth $200. Therefore, this is another win for Walmart and the Savannah Onyx Edition.

However, if you do want the Savannah with the SmokeIT upgrade, that would take away most of the price difference between the two. But the Savannah, in total, would still be around $40 cheaper.


Pit Boss Copperhead Onyx Edition vs Competition Series Vertical Smoker

Pit Boss Copperhead Onyx Edition vs Competition Series Vertical Smoker

FeaturesCopperhead Onyx EditionCompetition Series Smoker Gen 2
Total Cooking Area1,300 sq.in1,679 sq.in
Cooking Surfaces55
Hopper Size65 lbs60 lbs
PIDYesYes
Temp Range130-420130-420
Temp Adjustment5 Degrees5 Degrees
Smoke Mode/P-SettingNoNo
SmokeIT (WiFi)NoYes
Typical Price$474$549

Up until this point in these comparisons, its been pretty easy wins for the Onyx Edition range over the Competiton Series. However, that’s actually not the case with this comparison.

Neither of these Pit Boss vertical pellet smokers is fitted with the same control panel as their horizontal pellet grill/smoker siblings. However, both still have 5-degree temperature adjusting and PID tech.

What is really, really odd though, is neither vertical pellet smoker has been given P-Setting adjustment for increased smoke production. Which is obviously very odd, as these are dedicated smokers.

Furthermore, while both vertical pellet smokers may appear to have been fitted with the same control panel, one (Competition Series) has WiFi/App support, but its missing from the other (Copperhead Onyx Edition)?

While the Copperhead Onyx Edition is the cheaper of the two, it has the lower overall cooking area and is missing WiFi/App functionality. Therefore the Competition Series smoker can justify the additional $70.


Conclusions On The Pit Boss Onyx Edition vs Competition Series

So what have we learned? Well, other than the Copperhead Onyx Edition vertical pellet smoker, in all the other comparisons, I think it’s a win for the Onyx Edition models and, therefore, Walmart.

In fact, for under $500, I think the Austin XL Onyx Edition is currently the best-value pellet grill on the market, and I’ll need to update my other comparison articles to reflect that.

That’s it! Thanks for reading, as always, please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide to learn more about all your current options in the world of pellet BBQs.


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