Traeger Pro Series vs Ironwood – Worth The Extra Cash?

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Let’s say, for example, you have decided you want to purchase a product from the original pellet grill brand. You want a Traeger. Let’s also say you have decided a top-of-the-range Timberline model is out of your budget, but you’re mulling over an Ironwood model. What are the specific differences between the more affordable Traeger Pro Series and the more expensive Ironwood models?

Traeger Pro Series vs Ironwood
You’ll pay a $500 to $600 premium for an Ironwood model over the Pro Series model. Are they really worth it?

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Introduction To The Traeger Pro Series vs Ironwood

So, the first important thing I need to clear up is this is a comparison between the second generation of the Traeger Pro Series and the Ironwood models.

If you are not aware of the difference, I would encourage you to first read my Traeger Pro Series Gen 1 vs Gen 2 article.

First, we need to outline the price differences between the Pro Series and Ironwood models so we know what we’re dealing with in terms of a price premium.

FeaturesPro 575Pro 780Ironwood 650Ironwood 885
Total Cooking Area575 sq.in780 sq.in650 sq.in885
Main Grate418 sq.in570 sq.in418 sq.in570
Hopper Size?18 lbs18 lbs20 lbs20 lbs
Temp Range180-500180-500180-500180-500
PID Control?YesYesYesYes
Twin-Wall?NoNoYes (Some)Yes (Some)
Downdraft Exhaust?NoNoYesYes
Typical Price$900$1,000$1,400$1,600

In terms of the ‘Typical Price’ figures above, I’ve referenced them directly from, and you can use the button above to check the prices should a sale be on etc.

Now, please bear in mind that your conclusions may be very different from mine if you find a particular model on sale at or, for instance.

Pro vs Ironwood Similarities and Small Differences

So in quite a few ways, the Pro Series models and Ironwood models are very similar. For instance, they both feature the same D2 Direct Drive platform of variable-speed DC motors for the auger and combustion fan.

Furthermore, all Pro Series (Gen 2) and Ironwood models are fitted with a D2 control panel which runs a PID algorithm offering 5-degree temperature adjustments.

The D2 panel can also hold the temperature inside the grills to within +/- 5 degrees of the set temperature.

All Pro Series (Gen 2) and Ironwood models are Traeger WiFire compatible, so they can be controlled and monitored remotely via a phone with the Traeger App.

Though the Pro Series model is missing the ‘Keep Warm’ feature which is nice to have but should by no means be a deal-breaker.

Traeger Pro Series vs Ironwood Similarities and Small Differences
There are differences in hopper size, control panel features and whether a pellet hopper sensor is included between Pro Series and Ironwood models. However, I don’t believe them to be significant differences

Likewise, the pellet hoppers on the Ironwood models are 20 lbs compared to 18 lbs on the Pro Series models.

Meaning the Ironwood models can take a full 20 lb bag of hardwood cooking pellets in one go. Again, not a significant difference, but it’s worth noting.

Something not noted in the Traeger video above is Ironwood models come included with the Traeger pellet sensor, which the Pro Series models do not.

However, the pellet sensor can be retrofitted to Pro Series models if desired at a later date.

500 Degree Maximum Temperature Setting

In the Traeger video above, it is stated that only the Ironwood models benefit from the 500-degree maximum temperature setting, and the Pro Series models were limited to 450 degrees.

However, Traeger later reversed this decision and via a downloadable firmware update, all second-generation Pro Series models were given the 500-degree maximum temperature setting.

Hence, grilling/searing performance is exactly the same on the second-generation Pro Series and Ironwood models.

This brings me neatly to an important point, I would like to discuss the sizes of the main grates.

Pro Series vs Ironwood Grilling Areas

Now, as no Traeger pellet grill comes with direct-flame access, they are not the best pellet grills on the market when it comes to high-temperature grilling of burgers/steaks etc.

However, let’s presume for a second that’s what most of your outdoor cooking involves.

If you just look at the model numbers, you would initially presume a Pro Series 575, for instance, has a smaller main grate than the Ironwood 650.

However, the reality is both of these pellet grills have exactly the same sized main cooking grate at 418

Traeger Pro 575 vs Ironwood 650
As you can see, the Pro 575 and the Ironwood 650 have the same sized main grate of 418

The Ironwood 650 has a larger second rack which provides a larger overall cooking area. However, you can only use that second rack for smoking/lower-temp cooking.

Therefore, as Pro Series and Ironwood models have the same maximum temp setting of 500 degrees when it comes to cooking burgers/steaks etc, paying more for an Ironwood model will not provide you with more functionality.

So if you spend most of your time cooking burgers/steaks, then paying an additional $500 to go from a Pro 575 to Ironwood 650 may not be worth it.

You would likely be better off just spending $100 more for the Pro 780 to get a 570 main grate.

Pro Series vs Ironwood Twin-Wall Construction

One of the more notable differences between the Traeger Pro Series and Ironwood models is the use of twin-wall construction.

Namely, the Pro Series 575 and 780 do not feature any twin-wall construction and the Ironwood 650 and 885 do, well, some twin-wall construction.

Twin-wall insulated construction is exactly as it sounds, instead of using a single sheet of steel to form the cooking chamber, two layers of steel are used, and in some cases, insulation is placed between the layers of steel.

The benefits are reduced pellet consumption and more stable internal temperatures when the ambient temperature around the grill changes.

Traeger Pro Series vs Ironwood Twin-Wall Construction
While the Ironwood models do feature twin-wall construction on the sides of the cooking chamber, they would still need an insulated blanket for the best winter cooking performance

For anyone who wants to use a pellet grill/smoker all year round (especially in winter), I would encourage them to seriously consider a pellet grill with twin-wall construction, its definitely a good feature to have.

However, its also important to note the Ironwood models are not full twin-wall construction pellet grills.

The Traeger Ironwood 650 and 885 are very similar to the Weber SmokeFire pellet grills. Basically, both sides of the grills feature twin-wall insulation. However, the lower section and the lid/rear of the grills do not feature twin-wall construction.

Therefore, an insulated pellet grill blanket, as I discussed in my Traeger accessories post, would still be needed on an Ironwood pellet grill over the cold winter months to get the best performance from the grill.

Furthermore, if you don’t intend to use the grill in the cold winter months, is the twin-wall on the Ironwood worth the $500 to $600 premium to you?

Pro Series vs Ironwood Downdraft Exhaust

I personally feel the biggest difference by far between the Pro Series and Ironwood models, and the main reason anyone should consider paying for the upgrade is the Traeger downdraft exhaust found on the Ironwood 650 and 885.

The Pro 575 and 780 feature the standard small chimney stack design common on pellet grills since Traeger made their first pellet grills in the 1980s.

However, the design of the chimney on the Ironwood 650 and 885 is a very different affair that provides a couple of important benefits.

Traeger Ironwood Downdraft Exhaust
By far, I regard the downdraft exhaust as the most significant upgrade going from the Pro Series up to the Ironwood models

Behind the marketing talk of ‘smoke science’ and ‘smoke vortex’s’ is simply an excellent exhaust design that benefits the food being cooked on the Ironwood pellet grills.

The design of the exhaust forces the heat and smoke from the pellet fire up, over and under the cooking racks.

Compared to a standard chimney design such as that found on the Pro Series grills, the downdraft exhaust provides more even heat and smoke distribution throughout the cooking chamber.

Hence, the downdraft exhaust gives the user more consistent results with food across the cooking racks.

Conclusions On The Traeger Pro Series vs Ironwood

So what are my final recommendations? Well, as we have established above, the Pro Series models now have the same 500-degree maximum temperature setting as the Ironwood models.

Furthermore, the sizes of the main cooking grates (for grilling/searing) are the same across respective Pro Series and Ironwood models.

Therefore, if you were purchasing a Traeger to mainly cook steaks and burgers etc, during the summer months, I would probably suggest getting the larger Pro 780 over the Ironwood 650 or 885.

However, if you do want to do quite a bit of ‘low and slow’ cooking, I would encourage you to seriously consider an Ironwood model.

Due to the twin-wall insulation partly, but mainly due to the benefits of the downdraft exhaust on the Ironwood 650 and 885.

That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope you found this Pro Series vs Ironwood comparison useful.

If you want to consider other pellet grill brands outside of Traeger, there have never been more options to choose from. Please check out my Wood Pellet Grill Guide to learn more. šŸ™‚

Don’t forget to play around with our database at the top of the page, where you can compare the specs of all Traeger Pro Series and Ironwood models. šŸ™‚

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