Made exclusively for QVC, the Traeger Lone Star Elite has a different look, alternate features, and price than other Traeger Grills, giving the impression that it’s unlike any other model and, therefore, more desirable. However, despite its QVC showcase and revamped appearance, the Lone Star is very much like other Traeger Grills, with the exception of an inflated price. (Read our Pellet Grill FAQ)
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What’s in a Name?
Over its thirty-year history, Traeger has made a lot of pellet grills that have gone by different names. At times that has created confusion about how one Traeger differs from another and why they sell for different prices. Usually, those differences are easily explained by size and type of controller.
However, there other times when it’s not so clear, like with the Lone Star Elite, which, on the surface, appears to be a limited edition grill worthy of a higher price tag. Yet a closer look reveals that, in terms of size and controller type, the Lone Star Elite is a close cousin to the Traeger Junior Elite, Tailgater Elite and Bronson Elite, all of which cost significantly less.
The Lone Star Elite is Almost Identical to other Traeger Grills
When it comes to pellet grills, the most important features, and the ones that largely determine price, are grill construction, the size of the primary cooking grate, and the type of controller it uses. (Read 7 Tips for Buying a Pellet Grill). Most Traeger Grills feature the same powder-coated steel construction. In terms of size, their best selling grills fall into three series: the 20 series, the 22 series, and the 34 series. The number indicates the width of the primary grate in inches. As for controllers, Traeger currently has two types, their Digital Elite Controller and Pro Series Controller.
The Lone Star Elite is part of Traeger’s 20 series and has their Digital Elite Controller just like the Traeger Junior Elite, Tailgater, and Bronson. Yet, remarkably, it costs significantly more. Here’s a breakdown of how the Lone Star compares to the other Traeger 20 Series grill:
Traeger Lone Star Elite: It has pegboard on the front with hooks for your BBQ tools. It also includes a 20×7” upper rack that expands your cooking area. Whereas the other grills utilize vents on the back of the grill for an exhaust, the Lone Star has a smokestack. Largely cosmetic, it does not improve airflow or help you cook better.
Traeger Junior Elite: With a primary grate of 20×15″ it has a little less cooking area than the Lone Star. It’s also shorter(36” vs 49”) and doesn’t have an upper rack or hooks, none of which help you cook any better. However, it costs $270 less. With that money, you can buy about 15 twenty-pound bags of BBQ pellets.
Traeger Tailgater: Also shorter than the Lone Star with a 20×15″ grate, it doesn’t include an upper rack or hooks. However, it’s legs fold up for easy transport, making it perfect for cooking in the backyard or packing up and taking camping or tailgating. You also save $250, enough to buy about 16 twenty-dollar steaks.
Traeger Bronson: The Bronson is shorter than the Lone Star and has a 20×15″ grate. Nor does it have hooks or an upper rack. However, it does feature Traeger’s new sawhorse chassis for more support and better mobility. It also costs $200 less, money that can be used to buy accessories or put away for a rainy day.
FireCraft Traeger Outlaw Package: This is a bundle package built around the Junior Elite. It costs the same as the Lone Star, but you get a whole lot more, including 2 bags of pellets, grill scraper, Maverick ET-735 Bluetooth thermometer, full-length grill cover, and a folding front shelf.
Clearly, there’s not much difference between the Lone Star Elite and the other Traeger 20 Series Grills. What differences do exist are hardly worth the extra cost. If the price difference was $25-50 maybe you could justify getting the Lone Star for the upper rack and hooks, but not for an extra two-hundred or so dollars.
Better Traeger Grills, Similar Price
If you’re okay spending $699 on a Lone Star Elite, you should definitely check out these other Traeger options, both of which give you more for your money:
Traeger Pro Series 22: Yes, it costs more, but you get a lot more. Part of Traeger’s 22 Series, it has a larger primary grills grate (22×19”, 418 square inches). It also features a better controller in the Pro Series Controller, has 2 meat probes for monitoring food temperatures, an upper rack that expands your total cooking area to 572 square inches, and the updated sawhorse chassis.
Traeger Lil’ Tex Elite: Also part of Traeger’s 22 Series, it has a bigger primary grill grate (22×19″), but costs the same as the Lone Star. Doesn’t have hooks and the upper rack is optional.
And, if you want to look beyond Traeger, Louisiana Grills makes a high-quality pellet grills that include PID temperature control, a direct grilling option, an included upper rack, and a programmable meat probe that lowers the heat when your food is done cooking. At $799, the Louisiana Grills LG700 is falls in the same price range as the Lone Star Elite and is definitely worth your consideration.
Exclusive Grills Help Grow Traeger Brand
With so many Traeger Grills available at a better value it raises the question of why Traeger even offers the Lone Star Elite. The reasons are based purely on marketing. In recent years, Traeger has created a handful of exclusive grills that are only sold through specific channels, including the Renegade Elite, the Century 22, and the Eastwood. While these grills often include a few extra features not found on the standard Traeger models (like the hooks on the Lone Star), they seldom represent a good value for the customer.
These grills do, however, have value to Traeger and the outlets selling them. They offer the retailer an opportunity to sell a Traeger Grill that’s not available anywhere else. For Traeger, which is still introducing its grills and its brand to the public, the arrangement is an opportunity to have their product pushed by sellers such as QVC, Home Depot, and Costco that have access to millions of potential pellet grill customers.