11 months ago

Traeger Tailgater 20 Series Review (Updated Jan. 2019)

Looking for a super easy portable grill? This Traeger Tailgater is could be what you are looking for!

The Traeger Tailgater is an efficient, compact and ultra-portable smoker grill. It is specifically designed to please tailgating fans and home cooks alike. If you love cooking for people in multiple locations you will love the Traeger tailgater series.

From one pit master to another, I think that Traeger sets the standard for pellet grills. If they are designed for tailgating or backyard use.

I couldn’t believe it that back in 2008 Traeger was one of only two companies selling pellet style smokers.

This Traeger pellet smoker uses hardwood pellets and helped us produce ensures full-flavored smokey flavors in every cook

I found that Tailgater 20 Series griller can hold up to 2 chickens, 3 rib racks, 12 burgers and 18 hotdogs. That’s thanks to its 300 square-inch grilling area which was more than enough for a decent backyard or carpark party.

This comprehensive Traeger Tailgater 20 review will help you see if this grill you have been searching for!

Traeger Tailgater 20

If you want a portable smoker look no further than the traeger Tailgater 20. This is a true tailgaters dream. It is lightweight, spacious and has lots of features to make tailgating, camping or fishing much easier. Lets check out the key features of the Traeger Tailgater 20 below.

Traeger Tailgater 20
 The Best Portable Smoker  


  • Dimensions (lid closed): 35 x 37 x 18 inches
  • Total Cooking Area: 300 square inches
  • Weight: 62 lbs 
  • Hopper Capacity: 8lb 
  • Wheels: yes with EZ fold legs
  • Warranty: Traeger limited 3 year warranty 
  • Ignition: Automatic

Key Features of The Traegar Tailgater

  • Ultra Portable: The Tailgater weighs only 62 lbs and measures in at just 36 x 37 x 18 inches. Not only that the Tailgater has fold-able legs which allow you to set it up anywhere, we found that this was perfect for tailgating however it did need two people to grab it out of the car.
  • Spacious Grilling Area: The Tailgater 20 Series 300 square-inch grilling area. This was enough room for 2 chickens, 3 rib racks, 12 burgers and 18 hotdogs. We found this plenty of space to cook for friends and family.
  • Utensils
    Set and Forget Cooking: One of our favorite features of the Traeger Tailgater is the set and forget option. When it is as simple as using this LCD display, both novices and advanced users get this smoker going effortlessly.
    Some your time might be spent better doing some of many errands so letting this unit work its magic is treat.
  • Utensils
    Automated Auger: We found that the Tailgater had a top quality automated auger. All we had to do was set our temp  using the digital controller, and the auger would know how fast it needs to spin to carry pellets to the fire pot.
    When more heat is required more pellets are more pellets are channeled, thanks to the temperature sensor. When the heat is optimum the auger automatically shuts down channeling pellets.
  • Trusted Brand: Being the only the second pellet smoker brand 10 years, Traeger has a strong reputation for high quality grills. Even its cheapest grill operates as efficiently as the higher-priced models.
    All Traeger grill’s induction fan works silently inside the griller to circulate rich hardwood smoke throughout the cooking chamber. This means you don’t have to do anything special to give your meat evenly-distributed flavor – this smoker does the job for you.
  • Utensils
    Hopper Capacity: The hopper is not the biggest, however, 8 lbs is plenty of room if you are tailgating. The last thing youw ant to do is add on 20 lbs of weight with a full hopper. ​​
  • Utensils
    Energy Efficient: The Tailgater Grill has a unique power saving system. Initially, it powers up via a standard household 120-voltage outlet using 300 watts for the first four minutes, after those four minutes to gradually drops down to only 50 watts for the rest of the cooking process.

What I Liked

  • Energy efficient
  • Made with durable, powder-coated, 20-gauge steel exterior and porcelain enamel steel grates
  • Highly portable (perfect for tailgating, backyard parties, camping, and more)
  • Long term trust brand in the market with fantastic customer service
  • Spacious grill area
  • Digitally controlled temperature (we were able to cook low and slow, or fast and hot without compromising any of that smoky flavor)

What I Didn't Like

  • It may seem like a high power usage but it quickly decrease by increments over the course of the cook.
  • Requires an electric thermometer – Some users have found the temperature of fluctuates in cold weather. They have found that an electric thermometer could solve this problem quickly

Why We Love Using Wood Pellets

Wood pellets have many advantages to them. First and foremost they are one of the greenest fuels to burn and also leave a very small amount of ash. Not only are they environmentally friendly they are also kind to your wallet. Much cheaper than using propane or wood. See what else we like about them below.

  • ​Cheap fuel source
  • ​Produces a lovely smoky flavor – which can be altered depending on what hardwood pellets you use. One can use maple to apple and other hardwood pellets.
  • ​Low emissions.
  • angle-right
    ​Cook meat evenly.
  • angle-right
    ​Easy to use.
  • angle-right
    ​Produces an even, consistent temperature in your grill.
  • angle-right
    ​Leaves a minimal amount of ash.

Construction & Design Quality

Overall, the Traeger Tailgater possesses a top-notch construction and design quality.
Made out of heavy-duty steel, this Tailgater is intended to withstand not only the heat from within but the elements from outside. You don’t have to worry about leaving this grill outside in the rain for a few.

The two lockable wheels can strong and sturdy. We liked these elements as it is a portable grill you don’t want the wheels to cause any trouble.

Ease of Use

At most, it shouldn’t take any more than an hour and a half to put together the Traeger Tailgater 20. The instruction manual that comes with it is detailed and easy to follow. You can also find the manual for the Tailgater here

​How Does The Traegar Tailgater Work?

​It functions by being plugged into an electrical outlet. The outlet provides it with the power to heat up its hot rod. You simply turn the LCD built-in thermostat on the grill. They are pre-sets including “Smoke” “High” and various points between 180 and 375°F.

After you’ve set the thermostat, you ignite a fire by placing wood pellets into the grill’s hopper. The hopper will drop the pellets down to the hot rod, which will set them ablaze so that smoke and fire is produced.

Cleaning and Maintenance 

Keeping this grill clean is vital if want to get the most of it. Old debris such as food and ash can affect the effectiveness of the unit.

Cleaning couldn’t be much easier as all the grease drippings are directed away from the cooking chamber into the drip tray. Removing the ash does not need to be done after every cooking since the ash collector is sizeable enough to hold ash for several cooking sessions.

Once you have done this all the grill requires is a wipe on the exterior surfaces with a damp cloth.

Warranty Details of Traegar Tailgater

Traeger offers a warranty period of 3 years, however the unit must be free from defects in workmanship and materials. Warranty period starts from the purchase date.

For more information on Treagar Tailgaters warranties

Do You Get Value For Money?

This is a high-quality wood pellet grill It gives you the real value of your money. We think that if you’re looking for something that is easily loaded into a truck to a friend’s outdoor party, it’s certainly is the ultimate choice. I mean look below isn't she a thing of beauty!

Apart from portability, it also gives you the option to grill, bake, smoke, barbecue and braise without any problems. The Traeger Tailgater has full-size functionalities in a portable package.

Final Thoughts

I think this has to be one of the best portable grills on the market. The Traeger Tailgater falls right into the bargain end of our $400-$1200 suggested price range.

While you might be able to pick up a pellet grill for cheaper, but we really don’t think you can beat the Treagar reputation for quality.

From The Manurfacturer

FAQ About The Traegar Tailgater

How does this come in the box, what assembly is required?
It comes in the box partially assembled. You will attach the legs then the pellet box. Instructions are very clear and simple. You even receive the appropriate wrenches to assemble the handful of hardware. Takes less than 30 minutes to assemble.

Is it big enough for a full size brisket?
Yes, maybe even 2 briskets.

Can it run off an inverter? How much power does it draw?
Yes, you can Make sure you have alligator clips to a 12 volt battery or car battery. Initially, it draws around 400 per Traeger then will back off to under 100 once ignited. 

Is this safe to use in a covered patio?
Yes. As long as it is well ventilated for the purpose of letting smoke flow out it will be fine. The risk of fire is almost nonexistent with the fire being so well contained.

Still Hungry For More?

5 (100%) 10 votes


You will more often than not find me tinkering around in my backyard. I will have one hand tightly gripped around a can of beer and the other hand tightly gripped around my spatula. Not so long ago (almost 8 years now) I got obsessed with Grilling, smoking and BBQ-ing. I can't get enough of it.. and neither can my family!

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