Traeger Ranger Review – The Pros And Cons ( Plus A Comparison To Other Portable Pellet Grills)

The Ranger is Traeger’s smallest and most affordable pellet grill. Designed for camping and tailgating, the Ranger isn’t your average portable grill. It’s also a portable meat smoker, grill, baking oven, and more! I wanted to find out all the pros and cons of the Ranger, so I put the mini grill to the test. Plus, we compared the Ranger to Traeger’s other portable grill.

How Much Is The Ranger?

The Ranger is Traeger’s most affordable pellet grill at present. The price fluctuates, but generally the Ranger costs somewhere between $400 to $450. Free shipping is available if you buy directly from the Traeger website. If you can’t afford to pay upfront, Traeger has partnered will affirm, a buy-now-pay-later option.

Ranger Price$449.99 ( Check Latest Price )
ShippingFREE when purchased from
Buy-Now-Pay-Later$41/mo with affirm
Cover$39.99 (check latest)
Hardwood Pellets$19.99 ( check latest )
5 Pack Drip Tray Liners$12.99 ( check latest )
Warranty3 Years

Ranger’s Special Features

The Ranger has all the basic functions of a pellet grill, but it also has some added features with the camper in mind.

Ranger Features Function
Keep Warm ModeAllows you to pause the cook cycle.
1 x Meat ProbeMonitor the internal meat temperature.
Digital ControllerArc D2 Controller with Advanced Grilling
Cast Iron GriddleSmooth cooking surface, with even heat distribution. Perfect for frying bacon and eggs, etc.
Porcelain Grill GratesDurable, non-stick, scratch proof, stain proof, and easy to clean.

How Small Is The Ranger?

Obviously, the Ranger is smaller than all the other Traeger models. Portable grills need to be light enough to pick up and pack into the trunk of a car. To give you an idea, the Ranger weighs the same as a large microwave oven.

Ranger Dimensions
Weight60 pounds
Height13 inches
Width21 inches
Depth20 inches

Ranger’s Temperature Range

As with most pellet grills, the temperature range of the Ranger is between 180°F and 450°F. This gives you the option to cook low-and-slow roasts at 225°F, or fry bacon and eggs at 400°F plus.

Temperature And Fuel Supply
Maximum Temperature450° F
Minimum Temperature180°F
Pellet Hopper Capacity8 lb

Temperature Accuracy

The temperature on the Ranger is fairly accurate and will stay very close to the temperature you set. As long as you don’t keep adjusting the temperature, it should remain stable. Although depending on the wind and the rain, this can cause any power grill to fluctuate.

How Much Food Can You Cook On The Ranger?

The Traeger Ranger has 176 square inches of cooking area which is enough to cook six burgers, or 10 hot dogs, or a full rack of ribs. You can easily cook four nice ribeye steaks at one time.

Cooking Capacity
Grill Area194 square Inches
Rib Racks1
Rib Eye Steaks4
Chicken Wings12
Brisket Flat10 to 12 pounds
Pork Butt10 to 12 pounds

Can You Smoke A Brisket On The Ranger?

It’s not impossible to smoke a brisket on a Ranger, however, it will require some work. A brisket flat is more suited to the Ranger, simply because of the size and shape. A brisket point might need more vertical space. If you’re still confused, check out this article: Brisket Point And Flat – What’s The Difference?

A brisket within the 10 to 12 pound range should be fine to cook on a Ranger. Keep in mind, you’re going to need a lot of wood pellets to smoke a brisket.

If you’re cooking low-and-slow, then it could take 5 to 8 hours depending on the size and cooking temperature. The Ranger only has an 8 pound hopper, which isn’t a lot. So be prepared to refill the hopper every hour or so. For tips on cooking a brisket flat, check out this article: Brisket Flat On A Traeger-10 Easy Steps

What Is The Ranger? How Does It Work?

The Ranger is a mini pellet grill. Rather than using charcoal or gas, pellet grill uses compressed hardwood pellets as the fuel source. A pellet grill can smoke, roast, grill, sear or bake almost anything. Here’s a simple explanation on how a pellet grill works:

  1. Wood pellets are stored in a pellet hopper.
  2. An auger feeds the wood pellets from the hopper into the fire pot.
  3. Once the pellets are in the fire pot, a Hot Rod ignites the pellets and starts a fire.
  4. A fan circulates heat and smoke throughout the grill.
  5. To hold in the heat and smoke, pellet grills are enclosed with tight lids.
  6. Pellet grills either have vents or smokestacks to eliminate gases.
  7. Pellet grills have various types of digital controllers, numerous functions, and varying levels of technology integrated into the grill.

Keep Warm Mode

The Ranger has a Keep Warm function that allows you to pause the cooking cycle at any point during the cook. Once the Ranger is in Keep Warm mode, the grill will hold the temperature at 165°F (74°C).

This is a handy function if you’re not quite ready to serve the food. To place the Ranger into Keep Warm mode, all you need to do is press the Keep Warm button. If you want to “un-pause” the Keep Warm function and return to the normal cooking cycle, simply press the Keep Warm button again.

Digital Timer

The Ranger also has a timer function so you can create alerts during the cook for different steps. For example, you could create an alert every 45 minutes to spritz you ribs. To create alerts:

  • Press the middle button and select TIMER mode.
  • Then hold down the UP or DOWN button to set the timer.

Cast-Iron Griddle

The Ranger also comes with a versatile cast-iron griddle, which is interchangeable with the grill grate. So if you’re cooking bacon and eggs, pancakes, or anything messy, the griddle is perfect, so you don’t need to pack fry pans.

The griddle is pre-seasoned, and gives an even heat distribution. To use it, all you need to do is replace the cooking grate with the griddle.

How To Prime The Grill

The Ranger has a PRIME button which allows you to fill the auger with pellets before you cook. This will help the grill get hotter faster once you’re ready to cook. Simply hold the PRIME button and the IGNITE button and the auger will feed pellets into the pot.

Built-In Meat Thermometer

The Ranger has a built-in thermometer so you can monitor the temperature of your grill. Although these built-in thermometers are often inaccurate. I would suggest using your own thermometer if you want to monitor the meat. Check out this article on meat thermometers for more information.

Pellet Hopper

The Ranger can hold 8 lb of wood pellets in its hopper. This is enough to smoke for about 6 to 8 hours, depending on the temperature you are cooking. If you are cooking something large, you may need to top up the pellets during the cook.


You can buy a cover for the Ranger, and they cost about $40 from the Traeger website. This is handy if you are camping because you don’t want the Ranger to get wet. Check out the Ranger cover here.


Although it’s a wood-fired grill, the Ranger requires electricity to run. All pellet grills use an auger and a fan, which are powered by electricity. If you don’t have access to power, then perhaps consider a charcoal grill.

Brushed Handles

The Ranger gets very hot during the cooking, which is why it has brushed handles to stay cool — no matter how hot the grill gets.


The Ranger has latches to secure the lid during transportation. Also, while cooking, these latches help hold in the heat and create a good seal. However, be careful. The latches get really hot when cooking. Don’t touch the when the grill is hot or you will burn your fingers.

Drip Tray Liners

Traeger sell drip tray liners designed for the Ranger. These disposable aluminum are heat-proof, make clean up easy, and rest on top of the Ranger’s grease pan. You can buy 5-packs for about $13 (check latest) on the Traeger website.

Safety – Is The Ranger Dangerous?

The latches get extremely hard during the cook, but so too does the front of the Ranger. Be very careful with small children around this grill because the front gets extremely hot. Especially If you’re searing at 450° F.

Unlike other grills with legs, the ranger sits on a table. It can get very hot on the front side of the grill, which is dangerous with the kids around.

Also, the Ranger requires electricity, so there are safety considerations when camping in the rain, etc.

Where’s The Smokestack?

Most smokers have a smokestack to eliminate smoke. Since the Ranger is a portable model, it doesn’t have a chimney or a smokestack. Instead, the Ranger has vents at the back of the unit. These vents allow smoke to escape, but doesn’t let any moisture inside.

Ranger vs Tailgater – Traeger’s Other Portable Grill

Traeger’s other portable grill, the Tailgater, is more expensive than the ranger and much larger. In some ways, the Ranger is preferable because it’s more compact. However, if you want to cook more made while you’re traveling, the Tailgater is a better option.

The Tailgater has foldable legs, which allows you to use it like a normal girl and then pack it away and put it in the back of an SUV. To read the detailed Ranger vs Tailgater comparison, check out this post: Tailgater vs Ranger

Tailgater vs Ranger Spec Comparison

 Traeger TailgaterTraeger Ranger
Price$529.99 (updated price from the official Traeger Grill website)$449.99 (updated price from the official Traeger Grill website)
Cooking Space300 sq. in.184 sq. in. 
Pellet Hopper Capacity8 lbs.8 lbs.
Minimum Grill Temperature180 °F (82 °C)165 °F (74°C)
Maximum Grill Temperature450 °F  (232 °C)450 °F (232°C)
Product WarrantyOverall warranty: 7 years (warranty for other parts vary – refer to list below)Overall warranty: 3 years

Ranger vs Tailgater – Dimensions And Grill Area

 Traeger TailgaterTraeger Ranger
Cooking Capacity2 chickens, 3 rib racks, or 12 burgers1 rib racks, 6 burgers, or 10 hotdogs
Total Cooking or Grilling Space300 sq. in.184 sq. in. 
Weight62 lbs.60 lbs.
Height36 in13 in.
Depth18 in.20 in.
Width37 in.21 in.

Grill Dimensions (With Folded Legs)

 Traeger TailgaterTraeger Ranger
Weight62 lbs.60 lbs.
Height20 in.Not Applicable 
Depth18 in.Not Applicable
Width37 in.Not Applicable

Traeger Product Features

 Traeger TailgaterTraeger Ranger
Portable SolutionYesYes
Built-In Meat ProbeYesYes
Included Cooking GrateYes (porcelain-coated)Yes (porcelain-coated)                                                       
Included GriddleNoYes (made of cast-iron material)
Latched LidNoYes
EZ Folding LegsYesNo
Wheeled LegsYesNo

Special Traeger Features

 Traeger TailgaterTraeger Ranger
Digital Arc ControllerYesYes
Wifi ConnectivityNoNo
Control Panel and DisplayYesYes
Bluetooth RangeNoNo
Idle ModeYesYes
Grill TimerYesYes
Keep Warm ModeYesYes

Traeger Control Panel And Display Buttons

 Traeger TailgaterTraeger Ranger
Keep Warm FunctionYesYes
Press and Hold FunctionsYesYes
Status DisplayYesYes
Meat Probe JackYesYes
Ignite ButtonYesYes
Indicator Light PanelYesYes
Up and Down ButtonYesYes
Center ButtonYesYes
Temperature DisplayCelsius and FahrenheitCelsius and Fahrenheit

Traeger Grill Parts

 Traeger TailgaterTraeger Ranger
Grill LidYesYes
Lid/Door HandleYesYes
Grill GrateYesYes
Grease Drip TrayYesYes
Grease Drain PortNoYes
Grease BucketYesYes
Pellet HopperYesYes
Heat BaffleYesNo
Main Power SwitchYesYes
Pellet Hopper LidYesYes
Side Lift HandlesYesNo
Rubberized FeetYesYes
Stationary LegsYesNo
Power CordYesYes

Fuel Type And Power Source

 Traeger TailgaterTraeger Ranger
Power SourceElectric and WoodburningElectric and Woodburning
Voltage120 V120 V
Fuel TypeHardwood PelletsHardwood Pellets

Warranty For Different Traeger Components

Traeger Tailgater ComponentWarranty Period
Body7 Years
Legs7 Years
Feet3 Years
Controller3 Years
Fan1 Year
Hot Rod1 Year
Auger Motor1 Year
Auger3 Years
Meat Probe1 Year
Hopper Cover7 Years
Cord1 Year
Grill Grate3 Years
Heat Baffle1 Year
Drip Tray1 Year
RTD/Thermocouple1 Year
Door Gasket1 Year


Author and founder at Meat Smoking HQ

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