Traeger Scout vs Ranger – Which Is Best?

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In my post on the best portable pellet grills, I briefly reference the Traeger Scout and Ranger. I wanted to discuss them in more detail in a separate post (this post) as its not immediately apparent what the differences are between these two small pellet grills. So in this post, we are going to compare the two and discuss certain scenarios where you might want to consider a tabletop pellet grill such as the Traeger Scout or Ranger. If you own an RV/camping trailer, a tiny pellet grill/smoker such as this is going to be your ideal option.

Traeger Ranger Pellet Grill
The Ranger (pictured) is Traeger’s most portable pellet grill, along with the similar-sized Scout pellet grill

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A typical Traeger, such as the Pro Series, Ironwood or Timberline, is obviously going to provide you with a lot more cooking space than either the Scout or the Ranger.

However, those grills weigh hundred of pounds plus and are not designed to quickly and easily fit in the back of your car, pick-up or RV.

The only other alternative you may want to consider to the Scout or Ranger but is still ‘portable’ is the Traeger Tailgater.

Introduction To The Traeger Scout and Ranger Pellet Grills

When I first became aware of the idea of a very small/micro-sized pellet grill as someone who has seen so many different designs of pellet combustion systems over the years, I thought, where do all the components fit?!

First off, you have got to fit a pellet hopper into the grill. You then have to fit in an auger and drive motor feeding to a firepot along with a combustion fan. Well, Traeger has managed to do it with the Scout and Ranger (just), but there are obviously compromises.

Traeger Scout Pellet Grill
The Scout is the cheaper alternative to the Traeger Ranger with fewer features/capabilities

First off, let’s discuss the pellet hoppers on the Scout and Ranger. Typically a pellet grill will consume around half a pound of pellets per hour while on a low heat/smoke setting.

When doing high-temperature cooking (up to 450 degrees), pellet consumption will potentially increase up to around three pounds per hour.

Well, these small grills only hold between four and eight pounds of pellets in their hoppers. Now that’s still roughly between one and a half hours and three hours of cooking.

But the point is, that’s obviously a much shorter period of time than an 18lb pellet hopper found on most full-sized pellet grills. Then again, these small pellet grills, due to the smaller internal volume, will use fewer pellets than a larger grill.

Secondly, while both of these pellet grills are ‘portable’, they still weigh between 45lbs and 60lbs. So while they are ‘lightweight’ compared to a traditional backyard pellet grill, that’s still quite a bit of weight to be carrying around.

Furthermore, don’t forget the 20lbs bag of grill pellets you need to take with you. You also have to remember these portable pellet grills still need a source of 110V AC power.

Therefore, as discussed in my Traeger accessories post, you will need a 12V DC to 110V AC inverter with you as well in most cases to get these grills working.

Though as I discuss in my portable power article, there are other options. I’m not trying to put you off the idea of these ‘portable’ pellet grills. I just want you to be fully aware of the limitations of these grills and what else you are going to need to take with you.

Traeger Scout and Ranger Pellet Grill Features/Specifications

One of my main intentions with this post is to clear up the differences between the Scout and Ranger pellet grills. So let’s look through the features and specifications.

The first thing I think that’s worth noting is that while these two pellet grills have a different outer body cases, they actually have exactly the same dimensions.

Therefore, both units provide the same cooking area of 176 square inches. However, the Scout is lighter (45lbs) than the Ranger (60lbs). Therefore, that’s worth noting.

Traeger Ranger Pellet Grill Dimensions
While the Ranger is 15lbs heavier than the Scout pellet grill, all the external dimensions are exactly the same

As previously referenced, the Scout has a smaller pellet hopper (4lbs) compared to the more expensive Ranger pellet grill (8lbs). That double-capacity pellet hopper will prove handy if you’re away from the grill while its doing a long/slow cook/smoke.

Both grills have a single external meat probe port and can reach the same max cooking temperature of 450 degrees. Therefore, if you want to high temp grill/sear, a set of GrillGrates wouldn’t go amiss.

However, how each grill gets there is where the key difference lies. The cheaper Scout uses a Gen 1 Pro Series Controller, whereas the Ranger uses the newer (more advanced) Digital Arc Controller.

Traeger Ranger Pellet Grill Digital Arc Controller
The Digital Arc Controller fitted to the Ranger is the most important upgrade over the Scout pellet grill

The key difference is, where the Scout can increase and maintain the set temperature in 25-degree increments, the Ranger with the Digital Arc Controller can increase and maintain the temperature at 5-degree increments. In other words, you are getting much better temperature control with the Ranger pellet grill over the Scout.

Not that you cannot cook great food on the Scout, its just going to be a bit trickier to cook the food exactly as you would like it. For instance, I don’t believe you can adjust the P-Setting on the Pro Controller fitted to the Scout.

This is a good video discussing the differences between the Traeger Scout and Ranger portable pellet grills, along with a quick review on the owner’s thoughts on his Ranger

Traeger Scout and Ranger Pellet Grill Reviews

While out and about in your RV etc, either the Scout or Ranger pellet grills could also be used to improve an outdoor experience. For instance, say you enjoy fishing or hunting.

Being able to cook freshly caught fish or wild game with the convenience of a full-sized Traeger could really add to the enjoyment of your hobby. Therefore, I’ve included two videos below of the Traeger Ranger being used while out fishing or hunting game.

This quick video shows a Traeger Ranger being used for grilling some freshly caught Trout
In this video shot with John Dudley/Joe Rogan after a hunting trip, it shows Joe using the Ranger to cook some asparagus and reverse sear wild Elk

Conclusions on The Traeger Scout vs Ranger

First, let’s discuss why you would potentially want to choose either the Scout or Range pellet grills.

Well, as shown above, either unit could serve as an excellent addition on a fishing/hunting trip to experience great wood-fired flavour without having to spend the time and effort hunting for suitable dry hardwood on your trip to cook on a campfire.

The full-sized Traeger grills are great when you’re cooking for family/friends, but with fewer people, the heat up/cooking time on a Scout/Ranger pellet grill is going to be considerably shorter.

Now let’s discuss the Scout vs the Ranger. While the first generation Pro Series controller used on the Scout is proven/reliable tech, it can only control the temperature within a 25-degree window.

The Digital Arc Controller on the Ranger is much more advanced with its 5-degree temperature accuracy. Therefore, if you can afford the additional $100 premium over the Scout, the Ranger is the unit to go for.

If you would like to learn how Traeger wood pellets are made, or any other wood pellet-related topics, please browse my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. šŸ™‚

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